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Anatomy of a Supernova

A supernova is the final cycle in the life of certain types of stars.  Stars like are Sun are too small to become supernovae.  Instead, they will become Red Dwarfs and will become so hot at the end of their life cycle that they will incinerate most of the solar system.  Stars of a somewhat larger scale can become supernovae.  It is calculated that the total luminosity of a supernova is greater that the total luminosity of the parent galaxy.  As the star exhausts all of its nuclear fuel, it begins to fall in on itself, creating increased gravity and forcing the formation of atoms with larger masses.  The interiors of supernovae are the crucibles that create the higher mass atoms that make up all of us.

Supernova 1999gi was reported in the IAU circular as discovered by Reiki Kushida, Yatsugatake South Base Observatory, with a mag of 14.5 on unfiltered CCD frames taken on Dec. 9.82 UT with a 0.40-m reflector. Previous frames that she took between 1994 and 1999 May 6 show nothing at this location (limiting mag 18), and nothing appears at the location of the new object on a Digital Sky Survey image. The position was measured by Y. Kushida for SN 1999gi: R.A. = 10h18m16s.66, Decl. = +41o26'28".2 (equinox 2000.0), which is 3".5 west and 60".5 north of the center of NGC 3184. 

My youngest son, Aaron, and I started following the progress of this supernova as a science fair project for his senior year.  In the first part of January 2000, I purchased a set of Johnson-Cousins filters. Some of the filtered images are posted here.  Photometry numbers sited here were accomplished either using CCDOPS or MIRA.

Here is a chronological listing of the life of SN1999gi from December 1999 through April 2000.  [Click on the thumbnail image to see the full sized image.]

sn1999gi12-19-99.jpg (27298 bytes) sn1999gi1-1-00.jpg (26807 bytes) sn1999gi1-7-00.jpg (21471 bytes) sn1999gi1-7-00V.jpg (29202 bytes)
SN1999gi unfiltered on 12-19-99 mag 14.1 SN1999gi unfiltered on 1-1-00  mag 14.0 SN1999gi unfiltered on 1-7-00  mag 14.4 SN1999gi "V" filter on 1-7-00  mag 14.6
sn1999gi1-16-00.jpg (94285 bytes) sn1999gi1-17-00C.jpg (25228 bytes) sn1999gi1-26-00.jpg (29263 bytes) sn1999gi120 V.jpg (64872 bytes)
SN1999gi unfiltered on 1-16-00 SN1999gi unfiltered on 1-17-00  mag 14.3 SN1999gi unfiltered on 1-26-00  mag 14.3 SN1999gi "V" filter 2-12-00
sn1999gi2B 300.jpg (99586 bytes) sn1999gi c 300.jpg (92647 bytes) sn1999gi i 300.jpg (78606 bytes) sn1999gi r 300.jpg (81690 bytes)
SN1999gi "B" filter on 2-20-00 SN1999gi unfiltered  on 2-20-00 SN1999gi "I" filter on 2-20-00 SN1999gi "R" filter on 2-20-00
sn1999gi v 300.jpg (107302 bytes) sn1999gi lum ds 300.jpg (67866 bytes) sn1999gi c 300.jpg (119119 bytes) sn1999gi 300 c.jpg (93743 bytes)
SN1999gi "V" filter on 2-20-00 SN1999gi Lumicon Deep Sky filter on 2-20-00 SN1999gi unfiltered 3-6-00 SN1999gi unfiltered on 4-14-00

More information on Supernovae can be found at the following links:

If you are interested in setting up a Supernova search program, the Third Reference Catalogue of Bright Galaxies is very helpful.  This catalog contains detailed information on over 23,000 galaxies.  I have converted this catalog to MS Excel format and have stored a zipped copy of the file for you to download.  Click Here to download the 4.1 Mb zipped file.  Unzipped size is just over 12 Mb.

International Bright Supernovae Page

Select supernovae magnitude reference curves

Kyoto University - About Supernovae