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In January 2014, a supernova was discovered in the relatively nearby galaxy M82, designated SN2014j. It was later confirmed to be a type Ia supernova, perhaps the closest in 77 years. Type Ia supernova are a very important “standard candle” used to measure distances to galaxies out to the edge of the observable universe. This distance measuring technique utilizes the known intrinsic brightness of a SN explosion and the measured apparent brightness as viewed from Earth to determine the distance to the supernova, and subsequently the distance to the galaxy it occurred in. Since the distance to M82 is well determined, observations of this supernova may be used to help calibrate this technique or to determine properties of the host galaxy. We present preliminary light curves in the B, V, R, and I filters, observed this semester from the North Georgia Astronomical Observatory (NGAO), and we compare the light curve to those compiled by the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO). From the peak brightness and known distance to M82, we estimate the dimming due to interstellar dust (extinction). The favorable timing and location of this supernova allowed a rare opportunity for the introductory astronomy classes to participate in observing the death of this star, by its visual apparent magnitude. We also present the visual light curve compiled over the semester by students in the astronomy classes, student telescope operators, and local astronomy club members. These observations compare well to the visual observations from the AAVSO.


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  • Subject
    • Physics & Astronomy

  • Institution
    • Dahlonega

  • Event location
    • Library 3rd Floor Room 382

  • Event date
    • 1 April 2014

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Dr. Joseph Jones