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Brightest Supernova in 40 years found by scientists

The brightest Supernova in 40 years have been found in the PinWheel Galaxy. This is around 21 million light years away from Earth. It is being called ‘PTF11kly’ and is classified as a 1a supernova.

A supernova is a stellar explosion that creates more energy than a ‘nova’. They are extremely luminous and cause a burst of radiation that can often outshine an entire galaxy before fading from view across a time period of a week to a few months. When the supernova is radiating period, a supernova can create as much energy as the Sun will be expected to emit over its entire life.

They can play a part in the evolution of a galaxy as they are the source of many chemical elements in the universe which are heavier than iron. Other elements such as carbon, nitrogen and oxygen seed the rest of space.

This particular finding is important, because it has been caught by scientists in a very early stage of the explosion state, perhaps within a few hours of the initial explosion. Thanks to improving technology and survey telescopes, this was caught.

(Photo: Peter Nugent/LBNL and Palomar ). These images show Type Ia supernova PTF 11kly, the youngest ever detected—over the past three nights. The left image taken on August 22 shows the event before it exploded supernova, approximately 1 million times fainter than the human eye can detect. The center image taken on August 23 shows the supernova at about 10,000 times fainter than the human eye can detect. The right image taken on August 24 shows that the event is 6 times brighter than the previous day. In two weeks time it should be visible with a good pair of binoculars

According to a report on IBTIMES, scientists from the University of Oxford made the discovery on August 24th along with colleagues from the Palomar Transient Factory. They used a robotic telescope in California.

The team leader in Oxford, Mark Sullivan said “The most exciting thing is that this is what’s known as a type 1a supernova – the kind we use to measure the expansion of the Universe. Seeing one explode so close by allows us to study these events in unprecedented detail.”

Above: Animation of the Crab supernova explosion.
Credit: ESA/Hubble

According to reports, the supernova is getting brighter all the time and they are studying the event to document the supernova chemistry and breakdown.

Kitguru says: A very rare event, caught in the early stages.

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