Supernova SN 2014J in M82

Society members, including our own LAS Supernova Search team, have been imaging the recent supernova (now designated SN 2014J) in M82 / NGC 3034 (also known as the Cigar Galaxy).
At a distance of approximately 11½ Light Years (roughly 68,000,000,000,000 miles!), it is the closest supernova to us since 1993 (SN 1993J).

Although it now seems to be past its peak, currently at magnitude 11.2 and getting fainter, it’s still visible in very large binoculars, or telescopes of about 4″ aperture and above.

Supernova 2014J in M82 / NGC 3034, imaged on 19th January 2014 by the LAS Supernova Search Team, led by Dave Thomson

Supernova 2014J in M82 / NGC 3034, imaged on 19th January 2014 by the LAS Supernova Search Team, led by Dave Thomson

Supernova 2014J in M82 / NGC 3034, imaged by David Galvin and Chris Banks on 23rd January, 2014

Supernova 2014J in M82 / NGC 3034, imaged by David Galvin and Chris Banks on 23rd January, 2014

From Universe Today:

On 21 January 2014 at 19.20 UT a previously unseen star was observed in M82 at magnitude +11.7, and reported as a potential supernova by S J Fossey© and students he was training. It had brightened to magnitude +10.9 by 23 January. Examination of earlier observations of M82 found the supernova to be present on 15, 16, 17, 19, 20 and 22 January, brightening from magnitude +14.4 to +11.3; there was no sign of it, to limiting magnitude +17, on 14 January. It was suggested that it could become as bright as magnitude +8.5, well within the visual range of small telescopes and large binoculars Preliminary analysis classified it as “a young, reddened Type Ia supernova“; it was initially designated PSN_J09554214+6940260. This is the one of the closest supernovae to earth observed in recent decades. SN 1993J was at a similiar distance, and SN 1987A was much closer. It is the closest Type Ia since SN 1972E

Although it is 12 million light years away, M82 is considered to be a next-door neighbour of the Milky Way. Indeed, this is the nearest supernova to Earth since SN 1993J was famously observed 21 years ago. The relative proximity of the blast makes it an attractive target for astronomers to study. Light curves from previous supernovas of this type suggest that the fireball could continue to brighten for the next two weeks.