On January 5, 2003, Robert Evans, the most prolific amateur astronomer discoverer of supernovas, did it again! He does his work visually, no CCD cameras or film cameras. It is said that he has a terrific memory of star fields and uses a modest 16-inch telescope to check galaxies he's "memorized" to see if anything "new" is there (though I've heard that he really consults charts while at the telescope). He lives in Hazelbrook, N.S.W., Australia. After he announces a supernova discovery others with CCDs begin accurate measurements of the star's brightness in different colors, such as red, green and blue. I'm one such CCD observer, and we all hope that we're catching the SN (supernova) before it reaches maximum brightness, which is typically about a week after the outburst. There's more scientific interrest in the "light curve" of a SN during this initial phase of brightening, reaching maximum (at different times for different colors), and onset of decay. Following this initial phase is a long, drawn-out decay with only small changes in decay rate.
Here's my image of NGC 1097 during the early decay phase of SN2003b.
Figure 1. Unfiltered image of NGC 1097, showing the supernova SN2003b when it was at magnitude 16 (during the decay phase). Faintest stars have a magnitude of ~19. [10-inch Meade LX200, SBIG ST-8XE CCD, JMI focuser; 2003.01.10/11, 82-minute total exposure; Sierra Vista, AZ residence]
Figure 2. Color image based on 3 nights of observation, January 9, 10 and 11, 2003. Field of view is 22.2 x 13.9 'arc. SN2003b was about magnitude 16 at the time of these exposures. [LRGB exposure times are 82, 13, 24 and 53 minutes].
This site opened: January 11, 2003. Last Update: February 3, 2003