Home > Cosmic Craziness > Grab Your Binoculars – The Brightest Supernova Explosion Since 1957 Will Reach Its Brightest Point Between 9/9 and 9/12

Grab Your Binoculars – The Brightest Supernova Explosion Since 1957 Will Reach Its Brightest Point Between 9/9 and 9/12


By Rob Waugh – “There will be a once-in-a-lifetime event in the night sky over the next few days – as a star exploding 21 million light years away becomes so bright it will be visible through binoculars across Britain.

The supernova is predicted to reach its brightest between September 9 and 12, and will be the brightest since 1954, visible all over Britain, weather permitting. A team of scientists at Oxford University are tracking it using the Hubble Space Telescope.

The explosion is so bright because the star is very close to Earth, cosmically speaking, in the Big Dipper constellation, Ursa Major. Most supernovae are more than 1 billion light years away.

Dr Mark Sullivan, the astrophysicist leading the Oxford team examining the supernova, designated PTF-11kly, said: ‘This is accessible to anyone with a decent pair of binoculars. For many it could be a once in a lifetime chance to see a supernova blossom and then fade before their eyes. We may not see another like it for over 100 years.’

It will appear, blueish-white, just above and to the left of the last two stars in the Big Dipper. Watchers are advised to stay away from street lights for maximum visibility.

The supernova explosion was first detected on August 24, by University of California at Berkeley scientist, Peter Nugent, using the wide angle 1.2-meter Samuel Oschin Telescope in California. It has grown brighter by the minute. Located in the Pinwheel Galaxy, it was 20 times brighter in one day.” Read more.

Categories: Cosmic Craziness
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