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Featured Article

When Stars Go Bang: Supernovae Explained

When Stars Go Bang: Supernovae Explained


A bright supernova has appeared this week in the galaxy known as M82, or the "cigar galaxy." M82 is a starburst galaxy about 12 million light years away. On a cosmic scale, this is right in our backyard. In fact it is the closest supernova we've had since 1993.

If you've ever wanted to view a supernova (and you live in the Northern hemisphere) then now is your chance. M82 is in the constellation Ursa Major. If you find the big dipper, then it is diagonally up and away from the handle about the distance of the pan. Click here to consult star chart. It is a bright galaxy, so it is pretty easy to find with a pair of binoculars or a small telescope. This new supernova about magnitude 11, so is bright enough to view with a small telescope. See observing sketch of M82 SN by Roger Ivester, 1/22/2014.

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