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M77 Galaxy Supernova SN2018ivc

Posted: 29 November 2018

After being clear during the daytime on Tuesday, 27 November 2018, clouds came in at sunset. I had just heard about a new supernova in M77 galaxy. SN2018ivc was about Magnitude +14. I had not yet imaged M77 (NGC1068) for my Extragalactic Supernova Project but would likely have gotten to it on my list of galaxies to image later this week. Too bad the supernova happened before I got a pre-supernova image!

The sky dawned cloudy on Wednesday, 28 November, but cleared mid-day. However, clouds returned as sunset approached. As clouds and rain were in the forecast for about the next week I decided this could be my last opportunity to image the supernova in M77 before it started fading.

Open: Wednesday, 28 November 2018, 1814 MST
Temperature: 68°F
Session: 1311
Conditions: Partly cloudy

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece


1819 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Slewed to M77 (NGC1068, galaxy). Supernova SN2018ivc was too faint to view visually, 102X. The galaxy was currently too low in the eastern sky to image.

Then slewed to M74 (NGC628, galaxy). It was faintly visible, 102X. I mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus, focused on a star, and locked the 12" primary mirror. I then made several attempts to acquire good StarLock autoguided images of M77 at various exposure lengths for my Extragalactic Supernova Project. None were successful. I finally gave up as I have a usable image of NGC628 from a previous session for my Project.

1906 MST: slewed to M77 (NGC1068). It was visible in the D850 DSLR viewfinder. I checked the clouds and none were an immediate threat to imaging M77 so I delayed the start of imaging until the galaxy rose a little higher in the sky.

1917 MST: while waiting for M77 to rise higher I viewed Comet 46P/Wirtanen, 12x50 binoculars. The comet is still not naked eye visible but the large coma was easily seen in the binoculars.

1930 MST: StarLock ON.

Began imaging M77 (NGC1068) in the hopes of capturing supernova SN2018ivc. StarLock autoguiding was erratic due to poor seeing. I took several images. Two ISO 6400, White Balance 5000K, images were usable: 1 minute and 3 minutes. The supernova was nearly obscured by the bright galaxy in the 1 minute exposure. Here is the 1 minute exposure along with a 5 minutes exposure at approximately the same scale taken in January 2017 for comparison:


This is a StarLock autoguided 3 minute exposure of M77 (NGC1068) for my Extragalactic Supernova Project:


I hope to acquire a longer exposure at a future date.

1948 MST: StarLock OFF.

As clouds were increasing and breezes were getting stronger I ended the session.

1958 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Wednesday, 28 November 2018, 2009 MST
Temperature: 56°F
Session Length: 1h 55m
Conditions: Partly cloudy, breezy

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