Astro Blog articles for PWT

SN2014J - the nearest supernova for 10 years!

Posted: 24 Jan 2014

A supernova has exploded in the nearby galaxy M82, aka the 'cigar galaxy', and should get bright enough to be visible with binoculars. This supernova, already given the identifier SN2014J (the 10th supernova confirmed in 2014), is a "type 1a" supernova, which we believe are caused by exploding white dwarf stars. Type 1a's explode with very predictable brightnesses, making them ideal 'standard candles' to measure distances to galaxies accurately. These type of supernovae are the cornerstone of the relatively recent discovery that the Universe's expansion is actually accelerating, contrary to previous models.

Comet ISON round the Western mark

Posted: 26 Apr 2013

Comet ISON has made its Western turn, and will now be heading East for the next 8 months... Here's the latest image in our sequence, taken on 19th of April, showing ISON moving slowly against the background stars. You can see a small tail in our image, but unfortunately we can't quite compete with the likes of the Hubble Space Telescope when it comes to impressive images!

PWT back on sky - comet ISON moving slowly

Posted: 02 Apr 2013

After nearly two months offline due to a broken drive motor, the Philip Wetton Telescope is now back observing the night sky! This has enabled us to take the next image in our Comet ISON project, which we started at Stargazing Oxford back in January. It looks like the coma and tail have got a bit bigger since we last saw it in late January. We've also started getting data for other projects, and at the bottom of the page there's a sneak peak at a future 'pretty pic'...

Moving objects, and non-moving telescopes!

Posted: 15 Feb 2013

For those of you eagerly awaiting the next installment of comet ISON, I'm afraid all we have to report is a broken telescope! However, you can track a solar system body for yourself tonight (15th Feb 2013), as asteroid 2012-DA14 flies by the Earth at only 35,000km and should be visible in binoculars.

Stargazing Oxford 2013 Project : Comet ISON

Posted: 06 Feb 2013

Comet Incoming! Here is the first image of Comet ISON taken for our 2013 PWT Stargazer's project. ISON is still as far away as Jupiter, but already a small tail is starting to develop... For this project, we will be imaging the comet every 2 weeks this year with the Philip Wetton Telescope (PWT) telescope here in Oxford. Check back to see how the comet develops, and if it delivers on its promise to be the brightest comet in 40 years!