Hermanus views new supernova with the Monet North telescope

LUCKY

Sunday 28th November’s MONET telescope image recording session proved to be the proverbial “third time lucky”: No problems were experienced and a good set of images of five target objects were recorded, with the added thrill of being asked to take images of a supernova (2010kd) that was first seen on 14th November! The target objects included three planetary nebulae – the Cork nebula (M76), Cleopatra’s Eye (NGC 1535) and the Eskimo nebula (NGC 2392) – a spiral galaxy (NGC 2683) and the spectacular Crab Nebula (M1). Readers wishing to know more about these objects are advised to simply Google them.

This image is of the Crab nebula, a supernova whose explosion in 1054 was recorded by both Chinese and Arab astronomers, was bright enough at the time to be seen during the day. It was the first image selected by learners of Hermanus High School during an image-processing session on Friday 3rd December. The almost magical appearance of the spectacular colours obtained from the superposition of images taken through red, green and blue filters respectively probably led to a few cases of incurable MONET addiction!

The supernova 2010kd first imaged on 14th November 2010

The telescope was aimed at the coordinates given for the supernova by the astronomer requesting the photos and several long exposures (2, 3 and even 5 minutes) were taken.  Whereas the “raw” or unprocessed images did not look like a galaxy with a bright spot in it (what we’d intuitively expected to see), the processed image clearly revealed the bright supernova 2010kd.  The modesty of this first participation in cutting edge astronomy in no way detracted from the excitement that it generated.

The session and its follow-up image processing can only be described as a spectacular success.


NGC2683 Galaxy

M76 Cork Nebula

NGC1535 Planetary Nebula

NGC2392 Eskimo Nebula

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