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Amateur astronomer discovers supernova in Pinwheel galaxy – ‘it’s going to get brighter’

Amateur astronomer discovers supernova in Pinwheel galaxy – ‘it’s going to get brighter’

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from: Tanya Banner

The Pinwheel Galaxy (M101) is located in the constellation Ursa Major. In May 2023, an amateur astronomer detected a supernova in one of the upper spiral arms. (archive photo) © IMAGO / imagebroker

An amateur astronomer has discovered a supernova in the constellation Ursa Major. Experts believe that the star’s explosion may become brighter in the coming days.

FRANKFURT – While some sky-watchers are hoping for a supernova explosion from the visible star Betelgeuse in the constellation of Orion, an amateur astronomer has spotted an actual supernova in another corner of the sky. In the Fan Galaxy (M101), a spiral galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major, Japanese Koichi Itagaki discovered a star that suddenly appeared brighter than before.

He reported the discovery to Itagaki on May 19, 2023Just a few hours later, a research team used the Liverpool Robotic Telescope in La Palma to classify the supernova more accurately. It is about According to the four researchers A type II supernova at a very early stage. In this so-called “core collapse supernova,” the core of a star with at least eight times the mass of our Sun has run out of fuel. “The core collapses, a neutron star or black hole is formed, and the star explodes,” explains astronomer Andy Howell. on Twitter.

Pinwheel supernova Galaxy M101: about 21 million light-years away

The research group that cataloged the supernova also calculated that the star that went supernova is about 21 million light-years from Earth – “This would be one of the closest supernovas found in the last few decades.” According to the researchers, they have requested more observation time using the Liverpool Telescope, and they also want to monitor the new supernova using NASA’s Swift and Hubble space telescopes, and experts also recommend targeting the supernova.

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This has already happened, and the first photos of the supernova are circulating on Twitter. on Animation by astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy It’s easy to see the explosion: it’s at the top of a spiral galaxy’s arm — a bright light that suddenly appears. In the coming days, the supernova is likely to get even brighter and could outshine the entire fan galaxy, radio astronomer Yvette Cendez of the Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) said on Twitter. to explain.

New supernova discovered in the night sky – invisible to the naked eye

Howell agrees: “This new supernova is going to get brighter over the next few days. You should be able to see it with your backyard telescopes for a few months, though it will only be a point of light.” The supernova won’t be visible to the naked eye, he adds. So far away from Earth. “You need a supernova in our galaxy or a satellite galaxy in the immediate vicinity,” says the expert. Both are in the past, but some time has passed since then. The supernova was last seen in a satellite galaxy in 1987 and in the Milky Way in 1604.

Astrophysicist Grant Tremblay (CfA) ranked the event chronologically on Twitter: “Also remember that the supernova that appeared ‘today’ in M101 actually exploded at the beginning of the Miocene about 20 million years ago, before the continents of North and South America were connected by righteousness.” (tab)