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Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space, Stars

Closest, brightest supernova in decades is also a little weird

A color composite of SN 2014J, located in the “cigar galaxy” M82, 11.4 million light years away, made from KAIT images obtained through several different filters. The supernova is marked with an arrow. Other round objects are relatively nearby stars in our own Milky Way Galaxy. Credit: W. Zheng and A. Filippenko, UC Berkeley

A color composite of SN 2014J, located in the “cigar galaxy” M82, 11.4 million light years away, made from KAIT images obtained through several different filters. The supernova is marked with an arrow. Other round objects are relatively nearby stars in our own Milky Way Galaxy.
Credit: W. Zheng and A. Filippenko, UC Berkeley

The closest and brightest supernova in decades, SN 2014J, brightens faster than expected for Type Ia supernovae, the exploding stars used to measure cosmic distances, according to astronomers. Another recent supernova also brightened faster than expected, suggesting that there is unsuspected new physics going on inside these exploding stars. The finding may also help physicists improve their use of these supernovae to measure cosmic distance.
Reference: WeiKang Zheng, Isaac Shivvers, Alexei V. Filippenko, Koichi Itagaki, Kelsey I. Clubb, Ori D. Fox, Melissa L. Graham, Patrick L. Kelly, Jon C. Mauerhan. ESTIMATING THE FIRST-LIGHT TIME OF THE TYPE IA SUPERNOVA 2014J IN M82. The Astrophysical Journal, 2014; 783 (1): L24 DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/783/1/L24
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