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Brightest, Closest Supernova Discovered In Decades


Astronomers have discovered brightest glowing supernova in decades. It is named as SN 2014J and first became visible in the galaxy M82 as a pinprick of light about a week after the stellar explosion. It is about 11.4 million light years away in the Big Dipper.

The supernova was detected by a professor in the UK with his students.
Still the brightest supernova seen from Earth is visible through small telescopes. In past 27 years, after the SN1987A supernova, no such glowing light was the brightest as seen from our planet. It is also believed to be the closest Type la supernova in more than past 77 years.

When astronomer Alex Filippenko and his team from University of California, Berkeley, looked for the supernova from the Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope (KAIT) data at Lick Observatory near San Jose, California, it was found the photo taken by the robotic telescope was 37 hours after it appeared. However, it was unnoticed then. It appeared on January 14.

The astronomers managed in calculating this unusual characterisitcs of SN 2014J by combining their observation with another chance observation by a Japanese amateur astronomer. It was discovered the supernova brightened faster than what is usually expected for a Type la supernova. It was also more intriguing.

The finding of the SN 2014J observations was published on the website of The Astrophysical Journal Letters and it will go into print on March 1.

The new data availed from the supernova also offers information about the core of explosion.