Supernova explodes in nearby galaxy, was discovered by students

Jan 23, 2014
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Recently a group of astronomy students at the University College London made an incredible discovery in the night sky. The students discovered the closest supernova to the Earth seen in the last 20 years. The supernova light made its way to Earth in only the last few days.

The supernova was discovered as a bright light in Messier 82, also known as the Cigar Galaxy. Messier 82 is about 12 million light-years away from Earth in the Ursa Major constellation, also known as the Great Bear. The supernova is positioned between the Big Dipper and Little Dipper and should be easy for sky gazers in the northern hemisphere to see.

Scientists believe that the supernova may brighten enough to be visible through a small pair of binoculars. The supernova was first spied on Tuesday, January 21 at 7:20 pm local time by students led by Steve Fossey at University College London.

The supernova has been confirmed by other astronomers and scientists from Caltech have classified it as a young, reddened Type la supernova. That type of supernova is believed to occur in a close binary system where at least one of the stars is a white dwarf. Scientists are also excited about the supernova because it could help them learn about dark energy.

SOURCE: Space.com


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