Oregon and Coastal Astronomy: New Surprise Supernova Nearest in Decades
(Portland, Oregon) – Almost every astronomer in the world is excited about it, including Jim Todd at Portland's OMSI. Amateur stargazers around Oregon and even the coast can do a little jig over it as well as a new supernova is visible in these skies. (Above: the Big Dipper over Newport).
Todd said approximately 12 million years ago, a white dwarf star in the galaxy M82 exploded. This week, light from the distant supernova reached Earth.
“Although it is 12 million light years away, M82 is considered to be a next-door neighbor of the Milky Way,” Todd said. “Indeed, this is the nearest supernova to Earth since SN 1993J exploded 21 years ago. The relative proximity of the blast makes it an attractive target for astronomers to study. Light curves from previous supernovas of this type suggest that the fireball could continue to brighten for the next two weeks."
Lucky for us in Oregon and on the Oregon coast, skies will be clear for at least another day or two, which will come in handy as this big interstellar boom will be visible from backyard telescopes. The supernova has a of magnitude +11.2.
It can be found near the Big Dipper. See the star charts here.
Skyandtelescope.com said to look well up into the northeastern sky, and the tiny little show is happening next to the bottom of the ladle of the Big Dipper. Look around 7 or 8 p.m.
The supernova was found by accident by a group of students in London: Ben Cooke, Tom Wright, Matthew Wilde and Guy Pollack. Below: more of the Oregon coast at night.
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