Backyard Supernova (Kind Of)

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Toward the end of this week, the closest supernova, or exploding star, to Earth in the last 25 years will be its brightest—all you need is to find some binoculars or a small telescope to watch from your own backyard. Astronomers discovered the type Ia supernova on Aug. 24 within hours of its explosion, and say it’s visible to us here on Earth because it’s 21 million light years away (much closer than the typical 1 billion light years away where most supernovas are found). 


In this video, Berkeley Lab’s Peter Nugent describes how to spot this supernova, which is said to reach peak brightness on Friday, Sept. 9.