Right ascension: 03h 17m 27.10s
Declination: +41° 24' 19.50"
SN 2006gy: NASA's Chandra Sees Brightest Supernova Ever
A New Line of Stellar Evolution
Giant exploding star outshines previous supernovas
Astronomers Astonished by 'Monstrous' Star Explosion
The brightest supernova, ever
Four hundred and seven years ago this past February the Italian monk Giordano Bruno insisted the universe contained not just our Earth and sun, but an infinite number of stars and planets. For that and other heresy, Bruno was burned at the stake. In our third story on the COUNTDOWN, we note in somber memory of Brother Bruno that something very big, very bright and very strange is going on in a galaxy far, far away. This NASA illustration shows a massive star burst of truly cosmic proportions, a super nova more than 100 time bigger than our sun, 240 million light years away, a brilliant series of runaway nuclear explosions spewing the remains of the star into space. Again, it‘s animation, not home video. All of this after astronomers were thrilled with the recent discovery of what may be the first Earth-like planet ever discovered with the right conditions to support life as we know it. That has delighted scientists, even caught the attention of London bookies, who have now lowered the odds of finding extraterrestrial life to just 100 to one. Derrick Pitts is, of course, thrilled to be chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia now, rather than 407 years ago [+].
SN 2006gy was discovered by the ROTSE-IIIb telescope at the McDonald Observatory on UT 2006 September 18.3 (Quimby 2006). The supernova (SN) was initially reported 2" off the center of NGC 1260. Harutyunyan et al. (2006) announced that a spectrum obtained on UT 2006 September 26 was consistent with that of a young type-II SN [+]
The brightest stellar explosion ever recorded may be a long-sought new type of supernova, according to observations by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ground-based optical telescopes [...] "This was a truly monstrous explosion, a hundred times more energetic than a typical supernova," said Nathan Smith of the University of California at Berkeley, who led a team of astronomers from California and the University of Texas in Austin. "That means the star that exploded might have been as massive as a star can get, about 150 times that of our sun. We've never seen that before." Astronomers think many of the first generation of stars were this massive, and this new supernova may thus provide a rare glimpse of how the first stars died. It is unprecedented, however, to find such a massive star and witness its death. The discovery of the supernova, known as SN 2006gy, provides evidence that the death of such massive stars is fundamentally different from theoretical predictions. "Of all exploding stars ever observed, this was the king," said Alex Filippenko, leader of the ground-based observations at the Lick Observatory at Mt. Hamilton, Calif., and the Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii. "We were astonished to see how bright it got, and how long it lasted" [+]
Supernova Naming convention
:: Supernova discoveries are reported to the International Astronomical Union's Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams, which sends out a circular with the name it assigns to it. The name is formed by the year of discovery, immediately followed by a one or two-letter designation. The first 26 supernovae of the year get an upper case letter from A to Z. Afterward, pairs of lower-case letters are used, starting with aa, ab, and so on [...] Four historical supernovae are known simply by the year they occurred: SN 1006, 1054, 1572 (Tycho's Nova), and 1604 (Kepler's Star). Beginning in 1885, the letter notation is used, even if there was only one supernova discovered that year (e.g. SN 1885A, 1907A, etc.)—this last happened with SN 1947A. The standard abbreviation "SN" is an optional prefix [+]
Sabian Symbol - Taurus 28°07'00"
Taurus 28° A woman in middle life stands in rapt sudden realization of forgotten charms, in unexpected recovery of romance.
Taurus 29° Two garrulous cobblers are working side by side on their ancient bench.