Hot News! Supernova in M82

Very exciting news today - a supernova has gone off in Messier 82. In fact, according to this sequence of images from Japan it actually started to brighten about a week ago:

psn-m82

Being arranged in Japanese fashion, you have to read these from top to bottom but starting at the right, so the supernova can be seen to be steadily brightening, i.e. decreasing in magnitude from 17.0 to 11.9. That means it’s now visible with binoculars and will have been seen already by many amateur astronomers. The exciting question this time is whether we’ll get any neutrinos from it!

UPDATE: I’m told that, close as it is, M82 is probably too far to detect neutrinos. Boo.

This is the nearest supernova since 1987a which was observed in, er, 1987. This is the nearest Type Ia supernova for a very long time (possibly 1937), so it’s of considerable interest for the use of such objects in cosmology. There have been other close ones since the nearest one I can remember, 1987a, which was observed in, er, 1987 but all have been Type II.

UPDATE: Thanks for the people who pointed out my error which I’ve left in to show that I don’t know much about supernovae so you shouldn’t phone me up to ask.

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2 Responses to “Hot News! Supernova in M82”

  1. Brian Schmidt Says:

    Since it appears to be a type Ia supernova, we do not expect neutrinos – rather we might see Gamma Rays – which as they emerge might tell us how the star exploded in a way not possible.
    So this object is about the same distance as SN 1972E and SN 1937C, both in NGC 5253 -

    • telescoper Says:

      Brian,

      I understand Type Ia Supernovae also produce neutrinos, but less than Type II. Had this one been a Type II would we have had a chance of detecting the neutrinos from it?

      Peter

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