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Archive for June, 2012

Bright new Supernova SN2012cg in Galaxy NGC 4424

On May 17th the automated Lick Supernova Search discovered the SN 2012cg supernova in galaxy NGC 4424 in the constellation Virgo. From 18th magnitude it has now brightened to 12.0 and rivals the core of the galaxy for brightness. This exploding star was originally a White Dwarf star equivalent in mass to our own Sun and locked in a binary orbit with a much larger star. It steadily drew matter from this companion star up to a point where it became unstable, collapsed in on itself and exploded, producing what is known as a Type Ia supernova. This spectacular event should be visible in telescopes of 6″ diameter and above.

Image taken Sunday June 11th 00.59 am from Nerpio, Spain with iTelescope T7 Planewave 17″ CDK, SBIG STL-11000M. 300 sec Bin 2. RA: 12h 27m 11.9s DEC: 09° 25′ 01″ (J2000)

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Venus Transit in Progress ! Clouded out ? Get a view courtesy of NASA

Its after midnight over here in the UK and there will be cloud 5-6 am so no chance of seeing the transit for me. I popped over to the NASA Live stream here http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/webcasts/nasaedge/ for a view and was surprised to see that the images are actually being broadcast via views from readily available amateur solar telescopes. Andy Lunt of Lunt Solar Systems http://www.luntsolarsystems.com/  was explaining the different wavelengths of light that we can view the transit in including Hydrogen Alpha (red), Calcium K (purple blue) and White Light (how we would see it in natural light if it wasn’t so bright – NOTE do not look at the sun directly ! ).  I took a set of screenshots from the live feed so that you can see what is going on. It gives you a great impression of the size of the planet Venus relative to the size of the Sun. Earth would typically fit into one of those larger sunspots you can see to the left.

Views courtesy of NASA Live view from Mauna Kea, Hawaii

White Light view 00.21 UT

Calcium K view 00.34 UT

Hydrogen Alpha view 1.45 UT

Categories: Planets, Solar