M95 with SN2012aw


For high resolution, click here.

M95 with SN2012aw: M95 is located in the constellation Leo. It spans some 50,000 light-years and is estimated to be between 35 and 40 million light-years away. It is a member of the M96 group, which also contains M96, M105, and a number of other fainter galaxies. (http://www.maa.clell.de/Messier/E/m095.html)
This image shows the recent supernova SN2012aw, the bright blue star at 11 o'clock from the galaxy center, shown by the red markers. (The markers are not included on the high resolution image.)

Messier: 95
NGC: 3351
Other Catalogs: UGC 5850, 3C245
Right Ascension: 10h 44.0m
Declination: 11° 42'
Apparent Magnitude: 9.7

Date: March 2012
Equipment:
Telescope: Meade 16" Schmidt Cassegrain with f6.3 reducer
Camera: SBIG ST-10XE
Guiding: Meade 5" refractor/DSI Pro/PHD/AO-8
Exposure:
Luminosity = 17x10 minutes binned 1x1
R:G:B = 8x5 minutes binned 2x2
The camera was at -35°C

Processing Notes: Data acquisition with CCDSoft. Reduced and aligned in CCDStack and combined with Sigma Combine. Arcsine stretch import of L into Photoshop. Adjusted curves and levels. Increased contrast via a highpass filter overlay layer. Slight blur on the dim areas and sharpening on non-star bright areas. Repaired two overexposed stars. RGB combined in CCDStack at 1:1:1.6 ratio. Adjusted curves and levels, and reduced noise of RGB via Carboni action. L was combined with RGB and final adjustment and tweak in Photoshop.
Scale: 0.53"/pixel on highest resolution

Links to images of this object on other sites:
http://skycenter.arizona.edu/gallery/galaxies/m95sn2012aw
http://www.noao.edu/outreach/aop/observers/m95.html

Additional Comments: The presence of the supernova was another lucky coincidence and a target of opportunity, as the 16" telescope had just been re-installed after the 2011 repair and the snow had melted enough for the road to be passable again. This is the first target at the Fort Lewis Observatory in 2012.
The measured magnitude of SN2012aw appeared to change slightly during these exposures from 13.09 at 2012/03/24.129 to 13.07 at 2012/03/24.295. It will be interesting to plot the magnitude as a function of time for all the clear-filter exposures.
A previous image of M95 was taken in 2009, and can be found here: http://www.fortlewis.edu/observatory/image_detail.asp?ID=36 (Note the change in image quality with three years practice.)

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