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2013 Jan 06 20:41 UTC

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The 100th UK supernova discovery

An extraordinary sequence of supernova discoveries during August by members of the UK Nova/Supernova Patrol, run jointly by The Astronomer and the British Astronomical Association, has led to new records being set.

In early August we announced two discoveries by Mark Armstrong. Since then, during an amazing session from Aug 19.87-20.11UT, Tom Boles imaged and detected no less than four supernovae, SN 2003hi-2003hm.

This valuable work led initially to the 100th nova/supernova discovery by a patrol member and now the 100th supernova found by observers based in the UK. The initial patrol success occurred with John Hosty detecting a nova in Sagitta in 1977 and Mirko Villi (Italy) finding the patrol's first supernova, both visually.

Who would have guessed that after Mark Armstrong found a supernova in October of 1996 using CCD images, the first ever to be detected from the UK in living memory, we would now have seen such an extraordinary run of successes?

Congratulations from everyone at TA to all those who have contributed to the discoveries both here and overseas. As quoted by Brian Marsden in New Scientist today, this has also ensured that UK amateurs remain amongst the most active in the world.

Guy Hurst


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