Spiral Galaxy M95 with Supernova SN2012aw

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About this Image

This new close-up on M95 shows a supernova that was discovered on March 16, 2012 shining at approx. mag 12.
Supernovas are relatively rare events in the universe and they fade away quickly within a few weeks, so astronomers have to be especially speedy to spot them in time. Furthermore, typically most of them are too distant and faint for astronomers to identify the stars that set them off. Fortunately astronomers could identify the progenitor star in M95 from older HST data. That star now has exploded as a supernova shining almost as bright as the whole galaxy for a very short period. Actually all this happened some 35 million years ago, this time it took for the light travelling across the universe to us.

M95 is a barred spiral of type (R'2)SB(r,nr)ab with nearly circular arms and with a nice blue ring of a star forming zone. The distance to M 95 as part of the Leo I group is approx. 35 million light years.
Find more information about this supernova here.
North is down.

Find the wide field image showing M 95, M 96 and the M 105 group here.


Technical Details


16" cassegrain in corrected secondary focus at f/10

Camera SBIG STX16803 at -30C, STX filter wheel
Filters Baader LRGB
Date Mar 28, 2012
Location Wildon/Austria
Sky Conditions mag 5 sky, seeing 1.5-2.3", temperature 10 C
Exposure LRGB = 180:60:60:60 minutes (20-minute sub-exposures);
additional frames from 2006 incorporated
Programs used Autoslew
Maxim DL 5
Photoshop CS5