Wednesday, January 22, 2014

SN 2014J - Bright Supernova in M82

Following the posting on the Central Bureau's Transient Object Confirmation Page about a possible Supernova in M82 (TOCP Designation: PSN J09554214+6940260) we performed some follow-up of this object through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + f/4.5 focal reducer from MPC Code H06 (iTelescope, New Mexico).

On our images taken on January 22.3, 2014 we can confirm the presence of an optical counterpart with unfiltered CCD magnitude 11.3 and R-filtered magnitude 11.0 at coordinates:

R.A. = 09 55 42.17, Decl.= +69 40 25.9

(equinox 2000.0; UCAC-3 catalogue reference stars).

Our confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version):

An animation showing a comparison between our confirmation image of supernova in M82 and archive image by 2-meter telescope FTN - LCOGT (dated back to 2013-11-22). Click on the thumbnail below for a bigger version:

According to the ATel #5786 this is a Type Ia supernova with a Si II velocity of 20000 km/s (spectrum of this transient has been obtained with the Dual Imaging Spectrograph on the ARC 3.5m telescope).

UPDATE - January 22, 2014 - 1600UT

We have received an e-mail from the UCL (University College London) media office reporting that students and staff at UCL's teaching observatory, the University of London Observatory, have spotted this supernova in M82 on the night of January 21.

According to UCL website: "At 19:20 last night (21 January), a team of students assisted by Dr Steve Fossey spotted the exploding star in nearby galaxy Messier 82 (the Cigar Galaxy). The observations have been submitted to the International Astronomical Union's Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams, which is the official arbiter of supernova discoveries. Their official report has not yet been issued, and the supernova is therefore still nameless, but UCL appears to have been among the first, if not the first, to spot the event."

While we wait the release of the official CBET by Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT) with the discovery credit, congrats to Dr Steve Fossey and his students for this discovery. While this is not the nearest supernova to Earth since the Supernova 1987A (the Type II SN 1993J in M81 was at essentially the same distance within the uncertainties as this new one in M82 and SN 2004am and SN 2008iz -detected only at radio wavelengths- occurred within M82 itself), this is the closest supernova Type Ia to Earth since SN 1972E.

Below you can see the discovery image (click on it for a bigger version).

Credit: UCL/University of London Observatory/Steve Fossey/Ben Cooke/Guy Pollack/Matthew Wilde/Thomas Wright

UPDATE - January 23, 2014 - 0800UT

According to CBET 3792 issued on January 23, Stephen J. Fossey, University of London Observatory (ULO), University College, London, reported the discovery of an apparent supernova (magnitude R = 10.5) in the galaxy NGC 3034 = M82 on CCD images obtained by himself (and assisted by students B. Cooke, G. Pollack, M. Wilde, and T. Wright) in poor sky conditions with a ULO 35-cm Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope (+ SBIG STL-6303E camera) at Mill Hill, London, on Jan. 21.805 UT. The supernova has been designated SN 2014J.

UPDATE - January 23, 2014 - 1100UT

New animation showing a comparison between an image taken on January 23, 2014 and an archive image (dated back to 2013-11-22) both by 2-meter Faulkes Telescope North (operated by LCOGT). Animation by E. Guido, N. Howes & M. Nicolini. Click on the thumbnail below for a bigger version.

UPDATE - March 02, 2014

On January 31, the Hubble Space Telescope imaged SN 2014J as it approached its peak brightness. The image, shown here as an inset, was taken in visible light with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3. This image was superimposed into a photo mosaic of the entire galaxy taken in 2006 with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys. Click on the image below for a bigger version.

Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Goobar (Stockholm University), and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

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