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6/25/2016

Supernova in Taurus . . . July 4, 1054


In the early morning of July 4th, 1054 A.D. a guest star was seen in the constellation of Taurus. Chinese government officials recorded the addition of the guest star.  Wikipedia offers a good review of this process. LINK. It is definetly not the right time to go looking for the remains of this supernova, now called Messier 1, The Crab Nebula.  I love the image above since it is a deep desire that I may have the opportunity in my life to witness a supernova that occurs within our galactic neighborhood here in the Milky Way Galaxy that is equally as visible.

We do in the summer have other supernova remnants or SNR's as they are called that we can view. About 30,000 years ago, a massive star reached the ends of its life when it began to make iron in it's core and this resulted in the star exploding into what we would call a supernova. Located just north of the double star Alberio in the constellation of Cygnus the Swan, Sharpless 2-91 or Sh 2-91 is easily seen at a dark site, with a 10 inch or greater dobsonian/reflector telescope using an OIII filter. I have several entries on this object, I have visually seen several components of the SNR. Here is a sketch I did on the main component over on a forum I created for posting sketches that I need to update LINK. Here is the S&T article on Sh 2-91 LINK. More details from Galaxy Map at this LINK. Finally Steve Gottlieb's reports from 2001 LINK. Enjoy going after this one!

Of course the Veil Nebula Complex in Cygnus is one of the best views of a SNR in the summer sky. Comprised of NGC 6979, 6960, 6992, 6995 and other parts, this is perhaps one of those show case items most amateurs visit in the summer sky.  I believe I made a good review of this SNR and of Sh 2-91 in my August 5, 2015 where I proposed a year round SNR Challenge Observing Program for those that want to go for it.  Here is that LINK and findercharts are available there as well.

So just a quick post to get you interested in viewing this stellar remnants and to observe them and see the heavy elements being seeded into the surrounding galactic region that will go into creating new planets and such.  Now, still wishing and looking for that Milky Way Supernova to appear in the NORTHERN Hemisphere.  Sorry my Southern Hemisphere friends. A SN down under won't do me any good except to have to redeem some mileage points and fly south to see it!  I want a good old northern SN to appear! I'm being selfish but yeah, we are over due.