Supernova Visible This Week

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These images show Type Ia supernova PTF 11kly (Berkeley Lab News Center)

Quite the sight in the sky during the next few days.

This Friday and Monday, the public can look up and see the closest Supernova to Earth in over two decades.

Earlier this week, astronomers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California at Berkeley discovered the supernova,  named PTF 11kly,
which is an exploding white dwarf star. It was discovered in the Pinwheel Galaxy, that is located in the Big Dipper, over 21 million light-years away.

According to Reuters, the supernova is expected to reach its peak sometime between September 9 and 12, and will become visible to the public. According to Berkeley,  PTF 11kly may be visible with a good pair of binoculars.

It will reportedly appear to have a blue/white appearance and according to Reuters, can be seen just above and to the left of the last two stars in the Big Dipper handle.

The team discovered PTF 11kly within hours of its explosion and witnessed it getting brighter. It’s being dubbed as “the supernova of a generation and according to a Berkeley press release, the astronomers predict that it will be a target for research for the next decade, making it one of the most-studied supernova in history.

According to NPR, even though the star is 21 million light years away from Earth, the explosion is the closest and brightest astronomers have found in decades.

Berkeley released a video aimed to help the public spot the supernova. The video features Lab scientist Peter Nugent as he discusses the recently discovered supernova and how to observe it . Check it out.