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The good news is that the supernova is extremely bright, and easy to identify. It is approximately magnitude 10 and was the brightest object in the field of view. North is at the up in my sketch, with east to the right. In observing the supernova, we were using the 32 inch Schulman telescope and a 21mm Ethos eyepiece, resulting in a magnification of approximately 271X, and a field of view of .4 degrees. The easiest way to identify this supernova is to look for the star just northeast of the nucleus. The supernova is exactly opposite this star, to the southwest, between two bright stars in the field of view. Torsten Hansen has imaged the supernova as well as analyzed it's spectrum, which is the image at right. Spectral analysis is the means by which astronomers are able to study the composition of a star. In addition, astronomers can glean information on the temperature and velocity of the object, particularly whether the object is moving toward us (blue shifted) or away (red shifted). Supernova like 2011fe are further useful to astronomers as they can help to more precisely measure the distance to the host galaxy.
For further information on supernova in general, visit this wikipedia page. This is an informative video from the astronomer who first noted the supernova: