A cosmic celebrity gets some superstar treatment! This week while patrolling the night sky with their telescopes two French backyard astronomers�independently�managed to snag digital images of �a supernova explosion caught in the act – with all the action occurring within the Whirlpool galaxy 31 million light years away.
Newly discovered supernova appears to blink in before and after photos of the Whirlpool galaxy. credit: Stéphane Lamotte Bailey
On May 31st one amateur noticed a new star embedded within one of the spiral arms of�the distant�galaxy where there wasn’t any before.�By�the next evening�other amateur stargazers and robotic supernova patrol telescopes clued in as well and the alarm was sounded to the worldwide observing community.� Sky and Telescope website is reporting that�professional astronomers are scouring through images of the Whirlpool�from international observatories including the Hubble space telescope taken weeks and even years�before the supernova became visible to see what the precursor star might have�looked like before it blew up. This will help us gain critical insight into the inner clockwork of these titanic event that are ranked as some of the most powerful forces in the universe.