You may not know this, but just about every other day there is a Type 1a Supernova. Astronomers around the world detect, now, about 280-400 Type 1a supernovae every year.
Image Credit: Aussie Pete - taken late on 25th August
This one you are going to hear about! Why haven't I heard about the other 300 odd? Thats because they are very faint and are only found at all, because our techniques for detecting them have improved so much.
On the evening of the 24th August, the Palomar Transient Factory, a transient survey, detected the start of a supernova in a galaxy familiar to all, that is only 21 million light years away. A super nova usually takes a week to build to it maximum brightness, this one was detected at mag 17 and because its in a Galaxy so close it is expected to make at least Magnitude 11 or perhaps better. We'll know next week.
BUT for our poor hapless Australian's, sadly there will be no back yard observing as the Pin Wheel galaxy, also known as M101, sits at DEC +54 deep into the northern hemisphere. However on GRAS's one click color images M101 is a regular feature and with a 300 sec image you can have your own piece of history.
If the predictions pan out this could well be the brightest supernova in 30 years.
The Type 1a is called, for now, PTL11kly and will get a "real" designation a little later, usually the Year and instance number for that year.
There is a great write up here on this new transient event.
If you want to logon to GRAS and take your own photo, you will need to do it in the early part of the evening from either Spain or New Mexico. Just login and select "one click" image from the menu and select M101. You could also try G3 on the FREE introductory special for new members, or enter M101 and select a 300 sec exposure on G-3 or G-20 in New Mexico for a nice color image.