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On June 2, 2011, a new supernova was identified by an amateur French astronomer in M51.

What size telescope aperture would one need to have any chance of seeing this? Given the right sized scope, how would I best identify which point of light is the supernova?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

The supernova is currently magnitude 13.5. Theoretically this would make it visible in a telescope with a 150mm aperture, but realistically I'd expect to need an aperture of at least 250mm under dark skies to distinguish it from the background glow of the galaxy. A friend of mine, Jim Chung, has made "before and after" images of the supernova, which I have converted to a negative image, which should be a useful finder chart for spotting the supernova:

http://www.gaherty.ca/SupernovaM51%20neg.jpg

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