A Star Went Supernova in M82!
This new supernova is about 12 million lightyears away in the starburst galaxy Messier 82 (M82). A star in the galaxy was noticed to quickly brighten to a visual magnitude of 11.7, which indicates the birth of a supernova. It is still dimmer than the planets, but visible in the Northern Hemisphere with a telescope and a dark night. It will become visible with binoculars once the supernova gets brighter. Here is a map of its location with surrounding constellations.
The new supernova is classified as a Type Ia. Type Ia supernovae form when a white dwarf star in a binary system accretes too much mass from its partner and explodes. This type of supernova is useful in observations about the expansion of the universe and dark energy. By using their light curves, astronomers and astrophysicists will be able to measure redshifts and distances of supernovae, and when put together, will give insight into the acceleration of the universe.
Image by E. Guido, N. Howes, M. Nicolini.