New Supernova In Sky May Shine For Months

  • Look out for more than fireworks this summer. A massive star in the arm of the Pinwheel Galaxy (M101) has exploded — aka gone supernova — and its fiery death throes, Astronomy reports, are expected to be visible for months, even from amateur backyard telescopes.
  • The supernova, now designated as SN 2023ixf, was first seen by supernova hunter Koichi Itagaki of Japan on May 19th. Star watchers at the Zwicky Transient Facility in California confirmed the cosmic explosion by finding images of the supernova taken automatically two days before Itagaki discovered it, according to NASA.
  • “For reasons we don’t completely understand, massive stars seem to convulse at the end of their lives, shedding their outer layers into space,” tweeted Andy Howell, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara and an astronomer at Las Cumbres Observatory.
  • “It is just too hard to catch a star in the act because most are so far away, or we don’t find the supernova early enough. This supernova will teach us a lot.”
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