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Brand-New Supernova Spotted Within Hours, Will Be the Most-Studied Star Explosion Ever


Astronomers just spotted a brand-new supernova mere hours after it exploded, thanks to a robotic telescope and some smart computer algorithms. Now they’re scrambling to use as many telescopes as possible, on Earth and in space, to observe the star’s death throes.

New supernovae are not terribly rare, but this one is unique because it is so close — 21 million light years away — and it’s of a type that is crucial to astronomical measurements. The supernova, PTF 11kly, is the youngest ever detected.

It showed up in the spiral galaxy M101, the Pinwheel Galaxy, a rather large spiral (10 times the size of the Milky Way) located in the constellation Ursa Major, known to its friends as the Big Dipper. It’s a Type Ia supernova, a very bright type that is used for gauging distances among galaxies. The use of Type Ia supernovae as standard candles helped astronomers prove how rapidly the universe is expanding, and led to the discovery of dark energy. So it’s an important type, and the discovery of a super-new, superclose supernova is tantalizing news for astronomers.


2 Comments in Response to

Comment by Rocky Frisco
Entered on:

"Hours after it exploded?????"

More like 21 million years after it exploded.  The most surprising aspect of this horrible example of very bad science reporting is that it wasn't written by R. Klein.

Where is HELL do you find these idiots?


Comment by David Forty
Entered on:

 That's not entirely true. I keep having to remond people of this. Everytrhing you see in the sky that comes from outside our own solar system is millions if not billions of miles away. It takes many years for the light to reach us. What this means is that everything you see out there happened a long time ago. The entire universe could disappear and we would not see it for at least a hundred years. The light from this new Suprenova could be coming from a thousand light years away and very likely isn't even there anymore.

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