M61 with a Supernova

M61 has been particularly bountiful when it comes to exploding stars. This should not be a huge surprise as M61 is also experiencing rapid star formation. With a lot of new stars around some of the largest stars will die early and die big.

Early this month the Zwicky Transient Facility noted a new supernova in M61, now cataloged as SN2020jfo. This explosion is now visible at 14.7 magnitude and can be seen by modest amateur telescope of at least 8-10 inches aperture.

Eight supernovae have now been observed in M61: SN 2020jfo, SN 2014dt, SN 2008in, SN 2006ov, SN 1999gn, SN 1964F, SN 1961I, and SN 1926A, an unusual number for any galaxy. In contrast our Milky Way galaxy last experienced a supernova in 1604.

Between shooting other targets I stopped by M61 last night to take a few exposures of the galaxy and see this supernova for myself.

NGC4303 - M61 with supernova SN2020jfo on the evening of Mar 14, 2020
NGC4303 – M61 with supernova SN2020jfo on the evening of Mar 14, 2020

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on Mauna Kea, Hawai'i.

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