Sunday, June 05, 2011

Supernova Discovered in M51 The Whirlpool Galaxy

Credit: Hubble

A new supernova (exploding star) has been discovered in the famous Whirlpool Galaxy, M51.

M51, The Whirlpool galaxy is a galaxy found in the constellation of Canes Venatici, very near the star Alkaid in the handle of the saucepan asterism of the big dipper. Easily found with binoculars or a small telescope.

The discovery was made on June 2nd by French astronomers and the supernova is reported to be around magnitude 14. More information (In French) can be found here or translated version here.

Supernova in M51
Image by BBC Sky at Night Presenter Pete Lawrence

The supernova will be quite tricky to spot visually and you may need a good sized dobsonian or similar telescope to spot it, but it will be a easy target for those interested in astro imaging.

The whirlpool galaxy was the first galaxy discovered with a spiral structure and is one of the most recognisable and famous objects in the sky.

by Adrian West
Source: Universe Today

Another Nearby Supernova in the Whirlpool Galaxy
Credit & Copyright: Stephane Lamotte Bailey, Marc Deldem,
& Jean-Luc Dauvergne
Source: APOD