One past time that I have gotten into over the last two years is to observe Supernova that are visible in my telescope. Specifically, I like to hunt down supernova that occur in well known galaxies. I'll even admit I am giving it a try at visually hunting a supernova by identifying galaxies with active cores, that haven't had a SN in some time, are rather large and easy to see from my backyard and then viewing them a couple of times a week to see if any of the star field has changed. Its fun to do, gives a focus and I enjoy it even if I never discover a SN.
Well, another SN in a well known galaxy has surfaced about 3 weeks ago. I just wanted to bring to your attention if you haven't already heard about this (I posted on CloudyNights about it on October 30th, 2012, there is a wonderful Type I Supernova in the constellation of Fornax in NGC 1365. Now NGC 1365 is a wonderful Barred Spiral Galaxy, and when you see the images, you'll be able to see what I mean. The Supernova is easily seen in the images and easily to locate. NGC 1365 in northern Utah is best seen around 12:30 a.m. MST when it reaches its highest peak. This Supernova is at its peak and it expected to quickly begin its fade as Type I Supernova do. So here are some images to view from the Supernova Page located here. If you want to read about the actual discovery of this Supernova and see how professional astronomers make their discovery (and yes, initially it is faint, very faint!) go to this link.
This one is from Martin Pugh and is just lovely. To see his comments on his images go to this link.
Here is a fainter image of NGC 1365 and SN2012fr is the bright star to the left of the core. This image almost looks like my sketch of this object. It comes from this Blog of an amateur in Spain.
Finally an image by J. Brimacombe of SN2012fr in NGC 1365. It gives a good representation to orient oneself to where this bright Supernova in a well known galaxy is located.
So if your out in the night sky this weekend, please take a moment and look at this object! Now remember as Martin Pugh points out in the link to his image, if you do the math, "the absolute magnitude for SN2012fr is -19.27 for SN2012fr. This means that if the supernova had occurred at a distance to us similar to Betelgeuse (643 light years), then its apparent magnitude would be -12.80, same as the full Moon!" WOW! Remember this is the process which puts heavy elements back into the stellar nursery to create new stars, new planets and in some cases I would hope, life.