Exploding supernova visible through telescopes

Jan 23, 2014, 10:17 AM EST
This long-exposure photograph taken on August 12, 2013 shows the Milky Way in the clear night sky near Yangon.
YE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images

Astronomers are observing one of the closest galactic explosions in years. A white dwarf star died and thrust out a huge amount of energy and light -- what is called a supernova -- in Messier 82: a galaxy 12 million lightyears from Earth. The supernova was first witnessed by students in an astronomy lesson in the U.K.

Background:

Exploding Star: New Supernova Discovery Is Closest in Years [Space.com]

Nearby supernova dazzles astronomers [BBC]

After bright explosion, astronomers rush to study new supernova [Ars Technica]

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