Type 1a supernova spotted in M82 galaxy

January 22, 2014 5:47 PM

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Type 1a supernova spotted in M82 galaxy

A Type 1a supernova was spotted a few hours ago by stargazers in the starburst galaxy M82, which is 11.4 million light-years away from Earth. This is the closest such supernova that has been detected since 1972, and is poised to give astronomers and cosmologists some invaluable insight into how such stellar explosions pan out, and what we can learn about neutrinos, gamma rays and dark energy from them.

Unlike a supernova where a star blows itself apart when it runs out of fuel, a Type 1a supernova (SN1a), happens when a white dwarf pulls in too much material from a nearby star and blows itself apart-having bitten off more than it could chew.

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