Sunday, September 16, 2007

Astronomers at McDonald Observatory Discover Supernova

Type II Supernova ROTSE3 -- J012520+085413
09/15/07 -- "We report the discovery of a supernova, located at RA: 01:25:20.1, Dec: 08:54:13 (J2000) in unfiltered CCD images taken by the 0.45m ROTSE-IIIb telescope at McDonald Observatory, Texas. The supernova was detected at 19.0 +/- 0.4 mag on Sep 8.24 UT and at 18.6 +/- 0.1 mag on Sep 14.23 UT. Note that it was blended with a nearby 16.2 mag USNO star in the ROTSE images. It was not detected to a limiting magnitude of ~19.0 in images taken on Sep 7.95 UT by ROTSE-IIIc at the H.E.S.S. site at Mt. Gamsberg, Namibia. Magnitudes quoted above are unfiltered calibrated relative to USNO B1.0 R. A finding chart of the supernova can be found at:


"R. Quimby adds a spectrum (420-890 nm) of the SN obtained on Sep. 15.28 UT with the 9.2m Hobby-Eberly Telescope (+ Marcario Low-Resolution Spectrograph) by M. Shetrone, V. Riley, and F. Deglman shows it to be a Type II. Emission lines from H-alpha, -beta, and -gamma are detected, and a redshift of z=0.09 is inferred from the line peaks. Weak emission lines from HeII 468.6-nm and possibly OIII 500.7-nm are also seen. An emission peak is observed at rest 588-nm, which, if identified with NaI, would imply a blueshift relative to the Balmer lines of ~600 km/s."

F. Yuan, J. Aretakis, C.Akerlof (U. Mich.) and R. Quimby (Caltech)

Amazing, isn't it? Astronomers up on the mountaintop overlooking Fort Davis and Balmorhea can find this infinitesimally small needle in the primeval haystack of expanding light and form, in constant flux within fields of collapsing dark energy and infinite emptiness, yet George W. Bush can't even find his butt with both hands when he gets up in the morning. And he's the guy we trust with our national security?


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