Just before 4:00am while most of us were sleeping, astronomers observed a target they were alerted to through the Astronomer’s Telegram alert system (yes, that’s a thing) and confirmed a brand spanking new supernova in a galaxy called M82, aka the Cigar Galaxy.
he best way to fully appreciate this supernova is this .gif which blinks between images taken two months apart. The first was taken November 22, 2013 by the 2-meter Faulkes Telescope North which sits atop Mt. Haleakala on the island of Maui. The second was taken in the wee hours of this morning at using a 0.5 telescope in Mayhill, New Mexico operated remotely. That bright spot that you see in the second but not in the first is a SUPERNOVA! The reason the images aren’t exactly identical are due to the different observing conditions (weather, temperature, clouds, etc.) at these different points in time and space. Regardless though, the supernova makes itself known.
This particular supernova, creatively named PSN_J09554214+6940260, has been TENTATIVELY classified as what we call a Type 1a supernova.