Supernova SN 2023ixf: Astronomers race to observe exploding star in a nearby galaxy

Supernova SN 2023ixf: Astronomers race to observe exploding star in a nearby galaxy

Supernova SN 2023ixf within the Pinwheel galaxy, 21 million mild years away

Sebastian Gomez et al.

A star has exploded in a galaxy simply 21 million mild years from Earth, giving astronomers a uncommon alternative to observe a supernova unfold in actual time in beautiful element.

Supernova SN 2023ixf was found within the Pinwheel galaxy, or M101, on 19 Might by a Japanese novice astronomer referred to as Koichi Itagaki. It’s the closest supernova to Earth since SN 2014J in 2014, which was some 11 million mild years away. The supernova, which already outshines its host galaxy, is predicted to peak in brightness within the coming days, however could stay seen for years.

Whereas hundreds of supernovae are seen yearly, the proximity of 2023ixf means it may be studied in rather more element than others. Telescopes the world over have been educated in its route “inside hours of its discovery”, says Azalee Bostroem on the College of Arizona, deducing it was most likely a sort II supernova, by which a supergiant star runs out of gasoline and collapses in on itself earlier than exploding.

Bostroem has been allotted time on the Hubble House Telescope to review the ultraviolet mild from the explosion. To date, it appears just like the supernova is interacting with materials that was beforehand ejected by the star, which the Hubble observations may probe additional. “How stars lose mass is among the most attention-grabbing questions,” says Bostroem.

Two or three stars have been recognized as the attainable progenitor of the supernova, together with a sort of large star often known as a Wolf-Rayet star, however the supernova is presently too vibrant to work out which it’s. Hubble and even the James Webb House Telescope may inform us extra when the supernova dims.

Observations of 2023ixf could present invaluable knowledge on our understanding of how supernovae unfold. “That is going to be like a Rosetta Stone supernova,” says Bostroem. “It’s going to be a type of ones that we evaluate the whole lot to.”


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