London students discover new supernova

Written by | January 25, 2014 | 0

LONDON: Undergraduate students in London have spotted an exploding star, called a supernova, which astronomers say is the closest such spectacle to be seen in decades. A supernovais a gigantic explosion which takes place in certain stars that are nearing their death. About as much energy is released during a supernova as the Sun is expected to emit over its entire life span.

A supernova can appear for weeks as a bright light in the sky, some bright enough to be seen in daytime. The brightest of them was SN 1006, seen in the year 1006. It was as luminous as a crescent moon and bright enough to cast shadows on Earth’s surface.

The new supernova is believed to be 12 million light years away in Messier 82, known as the cigar galaxy for its shape. It’s located close to the pole star, near the Great Bear constellation.

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