Supernova in M51

June 19, 2011

Photographer: Philippe Moussette
Summary Authors: Philippe Moussette; Jim Foster

The image above features a new supernova in the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) as observed from the Mont Cosmos Observatory in Quebec, Canada. It’s the bright star-like object located in the spiral arm of M51 that appears to lead to a satellite galaxy – to the upper right of the galaxy itself. This supernova was first discovered on June 2 (2011) by astronomers in France and has a reported magnitude of 14.

M51 is a huge spiral galaxy that appears face on from our perspective, in the direction of the constellation of Cannes Venatici – it’s nearly 25 million light-years away. So this new supernova occurred some 25 million years ago. Although you can see M51 with binoculars or a small telescope, a decent size scope is needed to resolve the supernova. Image acquired on June 3, 2011.

Photo Details: A FSQ 106 refractor telescope and Canon T2I de-filtered camera were used. Five images were stacked together to obtain a single image -- 5 minute exposure time; 3,200 ISO.