Re: (IAAC) supernova

At 11:38 PM 4/3/98 -0500, you wrote:

>Has anyone seen the supernova in NGC3877 recently. I saw it last
>Saturday night. I almost missed the galaxy in a 10" reflector but the
>supernova was distinct once I knew what I was looking at. I'm  wondering
>if it continues to brighten or has leveled off. 

I have been following this SN, and it has definitely been dimming. My last
observation calibrated against the AAVSO preliminary sequence (a very bad
example of photometry) has it at mag 12.9. A week ago, it was 11.9 or so. I
have been following it in 18", 16", 10", and 4.5" telescopes.

>This is the first I've
>heard of a supernova in another galaxy being visible in amateur scopes.

It happens pretty often that one is visible in an amateur scope, but this
one is exceptionally bright and well placed for observing - those
circumstances are pretty rare. This one was also discovered early in its
brightening, so there was plenty of "warning" to the amateur community that
it would be visible.

>I saw somewhere that there is another one for amateurs in Sagitarius. Is
>it common to be able to see supernova or is this something rare?

The one in Sagittarius is a nova, not a supernova. IIRC, it is an Fe II
type nova. These don't get as intrinsically bright and generally speaking
are not as interesting to an amateur observer, unless nearby.

Jeff Medkeff          | Acting Assistant Coordinator
Rockland Observatory  | Association of Lunar and Planetary
Sierra Vista, Arizona | Observers, Solar Section

On the web at http://shutter.vet.ohio-state.edu/