A Star Just Exploded 'Next Door' And It's A Huge Deal
By: Erin Ruberry
While you were sleeping, a supernova was spotted "practically next door" and it is, to paraphrase Joe Biden, a big freaking deal.
A new exploding star was just found in M82, practically next door in astronomical scales! pic.twitter.com/aTwFMqQbLm— Brad Tucker (@btucker22) January 22, 2014
The stellar explosion occurred in the galaxy Messier 82 (M82), about 12 million light years from Earth. This means the star exploded nearly 12 million years ago and we're just seeing it. University College London claimed to be one of the first to spot the supernova, one of the closest since the 1980s.
It's a huge deal.
Why is this new #supernova in M82 exciting? Closest since 1987. Type we use to study dark energy. Binocular-visible. Might get neutrinos.— Katie Mack (@AstroKatie) January 22, 2014
This animation, from Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes and Martino Nicolini, shows the before and after:
Want to see the supernova for yourself? Look into the constellation Ursa Major in the Northern Hemisphere. Skymania provided this map:
The best time to see the supernova "is as soon as the sky gets dark when it’s already up in the northeastern sky above the Dipper Bowl," reports Universe Today.
Researchers speculate this may be a type Ia supernova, which is "the type we use to measure the expansion of the Universe and so that would be especially exciting."
Want to learn more about supernovae? Check out this clip from Wonders of the Universe: