1 Response

  1. When I stumbled over last year’s supernova in NGC 3184, (https://roslistonastronomy.uk/galaxy-hunting-season)

    I did some interesting fag-packet calculations:

    Supernova statistics 8/4/2016

    Here are a few sweeping assumptions:

    This article

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1967BAN….19..239K

    says the the average supernova frequency per galaxy is one every 40 years.( The last visible one in the Milky Way was 400 years ago, but that’s statistics for you)

    Lets assume that you will only be able to see one for every two that goes off

    If we assume they remain visible for lets say 30 days, in any given observation, the chance of seeing one is 30/(365X40X2) = 0.001 or 1 in a thousand.

    If you observe 40 galaxies a year (that’s about what I do), the chances of stumbling across one shorten to 1 in 25 per year (or once every 25 years!)

    That’s not quite as long odds as I might have expected! Maybe I won’t do the lottery after all.

    Mind you, I will be 94 next time I trip over one!

    Roger

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