A Challenging Object: Supernova Impostor SN 2009ip Is Back
I want to draw attention to a supernova impostor that has flared back up, and some are saying it could have gone supernova. Here is a link to the relevant Astronomer's Telegram:
Supernova imposters are visually as bright as supernova but they do not destroy the progenitor and some of them, like SN 2009ip have a repeat eruption. As the ATEL reports, Nathan Smith has guessed that this one might have popped off as a true supernova this time. Eta Carinae's great eruption in the 1840's is the prototype for this kind of object in our own galaxy.
Observing this object is a stretch for most northern hemisphere observers because it is at Declination -29. However it is an object of great interest and any good CCD photometry would be appreciated. Johnson V is normally most helpful. Cousins R and I are also useful for supernova impostors (because dust production can make them redder as they evolve).
Here is a link to photo on flicker with the object marked.
Note that the star to the immeadiate northeast of the target is pretty red. So depending on the airmass you are looking through and the filter you are using those two stars may be blended or appear as individual stars. It is my belief, based on data from Deep Sky Survey images that the nearby star to the northeast is faint enough in V and R that SN 2009ip overwhelms it completely in the photometric recudtions. The images that I took on September 11, 2012 show 2 distinct stars in the I-band but only a single star in the V and R bands. In my V and R band images the sky level was higher than the quoted brightness of the star to the immeadiate north-east.
I have made a VPHOT sequence for this that I am willing to share with anyone who wants to take some frames and reduce them in VPHOT. You can reach me here or jmart5_at_uis.edu