A new supernova is visible in the night sky right now

Long Island, New York-based astrophotographer Steven Bellavia produced this composite animation of the Pinwheel Galaxy using an image taken on April 21 and comparing it to another image taken on May 21, which clearly shows the supernova appearing. (Image credit: Steven Bellavia)

During the last few days, astronomers have been pointing their telescopes toward a familiar celestial object in our spring night sky for a look at a rare event: A new supernova — a star that has literally, and figuratively, “burst” upon the scene. 

This new supernova has appeared in a galaxy — a star city — beyond our own. The galaxy is known as the Pinwheel Galaxy, (also designated as Messier 101, or M101) and is a large, loosely wound, spread-out, open-faced spiral galaxy which can be viewed through a small telescope with the proviso if the sky is dark enough. You would need a wide-field of view and a low-power eyepiece to positively see it.

2023-05-23 12:00:21