Supernova Reiland?

Independent Discovery of Supernova

From an article by Tom Reiland as appearing in the August 1998 Guide Star

Apparently Tom Reiland made an indepent discovery of a spuernova in NGC 7541, but was a few days late for a first sighting of the SN. Tom says that it is just as exciting to find something that was not known to him or other observers until July 25 or 26. Shows just how tough it is to compete with all those CCD cameras and computer guided search programs at both professional and amateur observatories. He is happy though that he found it on his own without any prior knowledge of its existence.

 Tom had just returned from the country where he had no working phone or computer to help out with determining if his find was known or not. Friday night, July 24/25, he was observing some galaxies in the Pisces-Pegasus area when he decided to take a look at NGC 7541. There was a field star just east of the galaxy about 1 arc minute from its visible edge. He also observed NGC 7537 southwest of 7541. He noted nothing unusual.

Saturday night (7/25) was mostly cloudy and Tom did not get a chance to observe again. Sunday July 26/27 was clear and Tom again observed NGC 7541. Everything looked normal until he noticed a starlike image on the western edge of 7541 about 1.5 minutes west and a few seconds north. He observed at 130x, 240x, and 312x and it still appeared toe a star of approximate magnitude 14 to 14.5, where no star had been on Friday night! Conditions were different the two nights, Friday having better transparency, but fair to poor seeing and steadiness; while Sunday night's transparency was not as good, but the seeing was better. When he got home Monday he called up an image from the STSCI web page and saw no star in the area, but there was a bright knot of galaxy that may have been mistaken for a star under the right conditions.

As we now know, on July 20th, 1998 Supernova 1998dh was reported by a team from Lick observatory. Here is the announcement as it appears on the IAU web page.

SUPERNOVA 1998dh IN NGC 7541 W. D. Li, M. Modjaz, E. Halderson, T. Shefler, J. Y. King, R. R. Treffers, and A. V. Filippenko, University of California at Berkeley, report their discovery of an apparent supernova during the course of the Lick Observatory Supernova Search (cf. IAUC 6627) with the 0.8-m Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope (KAIT). SN 1998dh was found and confirmed in unfiltered CCD images obtained on July 20.5 (mag about 16.8) and 24.5 UT (mag about 15.3). The new object is located at R.A. = 23h14m40s.31, Decl. = +4 32'14".1 (equinox 2000.0), which is about 53".5 west and 10".4 north of the nucleus of NGC 7541. A KAIT image obtained on July 16.5 did not show a star at the position of SN 1998dh (limiting mag about 19.0).

Congratulations to Tom on his personal discovery. Perhaps next time he will take a cell phone with him.