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Press Release 11-261

Supernova Caught in the Act

Data-enabled science allowed detection of Type Ia supernova hours after explosion

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Image of supernova SN2011fe in the Pinwheel galaxy.

This close up image of the nearby galaxy M101 was obtained with the Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. M101 is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major and is quite similar to our own galaxy, the Milky Way. It is about 20 million light years (6.4 Mpc) away. The supernova is clearly visible as the bright, bluish star in the upper, right portion of the image. It is the closest Type Ia supernova to be observed since 1972. This image was obtained on September 18th, 2011, about two weeks after the supernova achieved its peak brightness.

Credit: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage), H. Schweiker & S. Pakzad NOAO/AURA/NSF


Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (1.5 MB)

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