Astronomers At The National Observatory Continue To Watch Sn 2014J
The astronomical community was very excited by the appearance of a supernova in a relatively nearby galaxy in late January 2014. Observations of this supernova, located in the galaxy M 82, and referred to as SN2014J revealed that it is a type Ia. These occur in a binary star system composed of a dense white dwarf star and a companion star, either another white dwarf or a bloated red giant star. These supernovae are especially interesting because they provide one of the best ways to measure distances to faint galaxies, and therefore calibrate the expansion of the universe. At Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), two different teams have been observing SN2014J.
At the Mayall 4-meter telescope on KPNO Dr. Ginger Bryngelson (Francis Marion University) and Dina Drozdov (Clemson University) were serendipitously engaged in a program to observe the slow fading of other previously known Ia supernovae when SN2014J was first spotted, and immediately added this one to their program. As Ms. Drozdov said,” Since this one is so nearby, we will be able to monitor it for much longer past its explosion than others. It will become one of the most widely-studied in history.”