There is a bright type Ia supernova in the elliptical galaxy NGC 4636 named 2020ue. Since its discovery by the Japanese astronomer Koichi Itagaki on January 12 2020, it has gotten brighter and now has reached its maximal magnitude of 12. It can be easily spotted with your eVscope!
How can you observe it?
Use the Explore menu and look for “NGC 4636”, then click “Goto”. When the telescope is done slewing and is tracking, click “enhanced Vision” and you will be able to easily see it even from a city.
Located in the constellation of Virgo, the target is visible is the second part of the night from SF/LA/Montreal/NYC/Marseille. (After 1am).
Our team in Marseille got a quick image a few hours ago under relatively poor conditions but it’s easy to spot. See the image below.
What can you see?
“A type Ia supernova (read “type one-a”) is a type of supernova that occurs in binary systems (two stars orbiting one another) in which one of the stars is a white dwarf. The other star can be anything from a giant star to an even smaller white dwarf.”. So you will see a bright dot in the galaxy. If you observe the target regularly over the next 3-4 weeks, you will see fainting progressively and then disappearing. This lightcurve is the main characteristics of those type Ia supernovae. “They have been instrumental in narrowing down the value of the Hubble Constant, and were the objects used to discover the accelerating universe.” (source: http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/)
If you feel like observing something cool tonight, grab your eVscope and set it up in your backyard. The elliptical galaxy NGC 4636 has a new supernova named 2020ue. It’s an opportunity to witness a cosmic firework from 55 million light-years away. Post your image on your favorite social media and let us know your story.