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Supernova SN 2023ixf: Astronomers race to watch exploding star in a close-by galaxy



Supernova SN 2023ixf within the Pinwheel galaxy, 21 million gentle years away

Sebastian Gomez et al.

A star has exploded in a galaxy simply 21 million gentle years from Earth, giving astronomers a uncommon alternative to look at a supernova unfold in actual time in beautiful element.

Supernova SN 2023ixf was found within the Pinwheel galaxy, or M101, on 19 Could by a Japanese beginner astronomer referred to as Koichi Itagaki. It’s the closest supernova to Earth since SN 2014J in 2014, which was some 11 million gentle years away. The supernova, which already outshines its host galaxy, is anticipated to peak in brightness within the coming days, however could stay seen for years.

Whereas 1000’s of supernovae are seen yearly, the proximity of 2023ixf means it may be studied in rather more element than others. Telescopes internationally had been skilled in its route “within hours of its discovery”, says Azalee Bostroem on the College of Arizona, deducing it was in all probability a sort II supernova, through which a supergiant star runs out of gasoline and collapses in on itself earlier than exploding.

Bostroem has been allotted time on the Hubble House Telescope to review the ultraviolet gentle from the explosion. To date, it appears just like the supernova is interacting with materials that was beforehand ejected by the star, which the Hubble observations might probe additional. “How stars lose mass is one of the most interesting questions,” says Bostroem.

Two or three stars have been recognized because the doable progenitor of the supernova, together with a sort of huge star generally known as a Wolf-Rayet star, however the supernova is presently too vivid to work out which it’s. Hubble and even the James Webb House Telescope might inform us extra when the supernova dims.

Observations of 2023ixf could present invaluable knowledge on our understanding of how supernovae unfold. “This is going to be like a Rosetta Stone supernova,” says Bostroem. “It’s going to be one of those ones that we compare everything to.”


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