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Monday, March 7, 2011

Hubble snaps hyper-bright Supernova in nearby Galaxy NGC 2403

Hubble snaps hyper-bright Supernova in Spiral Galaxy NGC 2403
Click on the image for full resolution (10.1 MB)

The explosion of a massive star blazes with the light of 200 million Suns in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image. The stellar blast, near the top right corner in the picture, is called a supernova. The supernova is so bright in this image that it easily could be mistaken for a foreground star in our Milky Way Galaxy. And yet, this supernova, called SN 2004dj, resides far beyond our galaxy.
Annotated view of NGC 2403 and Supernovae
Click on the image to enlarge
Its home is in the outskirts of NGC 2403, a galaxy located 11 million light-years from Earth. Although the supernova is far from Earth, it is the closest stellar explosion discovered in more than a decade.
This Type II-P supernova was discovered by Koichi Itagaki, a Japanese astronomer on July 31, 2004. At the time of its discovery, its apparent brightness was 11.2 visual magnitude; the discovery occurred after the supernova had reached its peak magnitude. The supernova's progenitor is a star in a young, compact star cluster in the galaxy NGC 2403, in Camelopardalis. The cluster had been cataloged as the 96th object in a list of luminous stars and clusters by Allan Sandage in 1984; the progenitor is therefore commonly referred to as Sandage 96.
The full resolution image weighs 10.1 MB, so please be patient when downloading!
Credit: NASA, ESA, A.V. Filippenko (University of California, Berkeley), P. Challis (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), et al.

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