Despite my knee problem, I decided to get the scope out and look at the supernova in M51. I didn’t want to wait until the knee was better (it’s improving all the time) or until the Moon was out of the way as the supernova might have faded by then and I didn’t want to miss it.
Date: 8th June 2011
Conditions: First quarter Moon, all-night astronomical twilight. Milky Way visible. No dew, breezy.
Equipment: 12″ f/5 dob. Televue 22mm Panoptic (69x), Televue 8mm Radian (190x), Televue 5mm Radian (304x) and Televue 3mm Radian (507x)
I observed the supernova under less-than-ideal conditions, thanks to first quarter Moon and the all-night astronomical twilight we’re cursed with at this time of year – and I have certainly seen M51 better than this. However, the Milky Way was visible and the transparency and seeing were both good. The supernova was best seen at medium to high magnifications. It wasn’t immediately obvious but after a minute or two with averted vision, popped into view as an extra star. I made the sketch without a photo to guide me and checked it against a photo of the supernova’s position later.
The best views were at 190x and 304x. The view at 507x was terrible, it was just smeared all over the place.
The supernova is arrowed on the sketch.