An amateur astronomer spotted a new supernova remarkably close to Earth

Friday, May 26, 2023 - 05:03 in Astronomy & Space

The Messier 101 galaxy, aka the Pinwheel galaxy, is home to the exploded star. Hubble Image: NASA, ESA Million of years ago, before land connected Earth’s North and South American continents, about 21 million light years away an aged and bloated star gave up the ghost in dramatic fashion, dying in a cataclysmic supernova explosion. On Friday, May 19, the light from that massive explosion finally reached the telescope of Japanese amateur astronomer Koichi Itagaki, who alerted the larger astronomical community: The supernova is now officially named SN2023ixf.  ”Those photons that left that exploding star 20 million years ago have just now washed upon our shores from this long, long voyage through the cosmos,” says Grant Tremblay, an astrophysicist at the Harvard and Smithsonian Institute Center for Astrophysics, who has been actively...

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