Astronomers have found a supernova dubbed SN 2014J with the help of the Ultraviolet-Optical Telescope aboard NASA’s Swift spacecraft.
Supernova refers to a catastrophic explosion of a large star in the latter stages of stellar evolution, with a resulting short-lived luminosity from 10 to 100 million times that of the Sun.
It is a small, dim, extremely dense star that has collapsed on itself and is in the final stages of its evolution.
SN 2014J is present in the galaxy Messier 82, also referred to as the Cigar Galaxy, located about 12 million light-years away from Earth making it the closest supernova discovered in recent times. Previously, the supernova, SN 1987A, was found in February 1987 that was present about 168,000 light years.
British students from the University of London Observatory discovered SN 2014J on January 21, 2014. This supernova is considered as a Type Ia supernova as noted by its Spectra by astronomers from other observatories. A white dwarf took the matter from a larger star until it becomes unstable and explodes resulting in this supernova.
Thick dust clouds in Messier 82 decrease the peak brightness of this supernova.
“Interstellar dust preferentially scatters blue light, which is why Swift’s Ultraviolet-Optical Telescope sees SN 2014J brightly in visible and near-ultraviolet light but barely at all at mid-ultraviolet wavelengths,” said Dr Peter Brown of Texas A&M University, who is the leader of the Swift team.
According to astronomers, SN 2014J would be visible to binoculars during the first week of Fenruary, 2014, due to its continuous brightness.
SN 2014J: Swift Zooms in on New Supernova in Messier 82 – Sci-News (http://goo.gl/4o2rLJ)