Student Observations of supernova in M99

On Wednesday 29th January, work experience students at the Armagh Observatory took control of Faulkes Telescope South and imaged a supernova in spiral galaxy M99. Below (left) is the image taken by the students, Jake Moran, Erin Barry and Sara Mitchell of supernova 2014L in M99, using FTS along with a 'before' image of M99 taken by St David's College in May 2012 (right). The supernova is easy to see against the background galaxy, with the animated gif (below centre), clearly showing how bright the new supernova was. 

2014L was discovered on January 26th by astronomers using the 0.6-m NAOC Schmidt telescope in Tsinghua University, China, as part of the THU-NAOC Transient Survey (TNTS). It has since been observed by astronomers around the world, and subsequent analysis of the spectrum of the supernova has given it the classification of a Type Ic supernova. Type Ic supernovae are the end result of the lifecycle of massive stars as their core collapses - you can read more about these here.

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This exciting object was imaged just days after a different supernova went off in the neaby galaxy, M82 - schools have been very proactive in observing this supernova and analysing the data, and as more observations come in, we will be producing more instructions for what you can do with the data, so watch this space!