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Brightest supernova in a decade can be observed from home: Museum

06/07/2023 07:39 PM
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Image courtesy of Taipei Astronomical Museum June 7, 2023
Image courtesy of Taipei Astronomical Museum June 7, 2023

Taipei, June 7 (CNA) A recently discovered supernova is the brightest and closest to Earth identified in the past decade and can be observed from home, the Taipei Astronomical Museum said in a statement released Wednesday.

The new star, which has an absolute magnitude of 14.9 in luminosity and is part of the pinwheel galaxy M101, was discovered by Japanese amateur astronomer Koichi Itagaki in the early morning of May 20, who immediately reported the finding to the International Astronomical Union, the museum said.

The new star was designated SN2023ixf following the astronomical naming conventions for supernova, the museum added.

The museum said that it observed the supernova with a 5-centimeter astronomical telescope installed in National Central University after receiving the news, and captured images of the supernova with an exposure of two minutes in order to analyze the brightness of the new star.

The exploding star was created after the catastrophic destruction of an aging supergiant star, according to the museum, and is located in a galaxy approximately 21 million light years from Earth.

The museum said that the star is the brightest discovered in a decade, with the last brightest supernova discovered being SN2014J in 2014.

Anyone interested in observing the supernova can do so using a small telescope as long as weather conditions are stable and the sky is sufficiently dark, the museum said, adding that observers around the world have been sharing images taken from home.

However, although the new star is bright and visible, it could still be a challenge for observers to see with the naked eye or take clear pictures, the museum noted, because it depends on the quality of photographic equipment used and experience of the individual.

(By Chen Yu-ting and Evelyn Yang)


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