Thursday, May 24, 2012
NGC 4424 from the DSS.
If you have followed my blog over the last year, you'll find that I enjoy observing and sketching supernova that are visible. Well, another Type Ia supernova has gone off and it is in a position that those with a good scope can take a good look at it. NGC 4424 is a Spiral Galaxy with a visual magnitude of 12.3. It's surface brightness is at 13.4 so I would go after this with a 10 inch dob or bigger (though smaller scopes should work and might provide a challenge). Here is an image by Juan-Luis Glez Carballo:
This supernova is very bright and increasing in brightness. Here are a couple of finder charts from Starry Night Pro to help you find this SN.
This finder chart starts at Vindemiatrix, and then I would hop to the inverted Y asterism and then move to the next finder chart.
Here the inverted Y astertism is to the far left, and from there I would hop to the 3 bright stars that are just off being north to south and go to the bottom star. From here I would follow the west to east run of stars to the bright double that is sitting out a little from this run of stars. Now move to the next chart.
That bright star is a double star and is in the upper left corner and has two fainter stars curving underneath it. I would follow those two stars down and then work my way via the stars over to NGC 4424. The supernova should be easy to see in the eyepiece.
Here is a finder chart from AAVSO site that shows magnitude of surrounding stars (add the decimal which is not included so to not confuse the number with stars).
I hope the charts help someone and that you enjoy hunting down this supernova. For a good review of how a supernova mechanics work I recommend going to Lecture 18 from Richard Pogge's Astronomy 162 which can be found at this link. I think it enhances the experience of observing an object if we have some understanding of what is going on. This things to me are simply amazing, and remember, as we observe this we are seeing creation in the process as the heavy elements created in the supernova are sent out into space to seed new stars, new planets and perhaps, new life.