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Just before 4:00am while most of us were sleeping, astronomers observed a target they were alerted to through the Astronomer’s Telegram alert system (yes, that’s a thing) and confirmed a brand spanking new supernova in a galaxy called M82, aka the Cigar Galaxy.
One of the closest stellar explosions for years has been spotted in a relatively nearby galaxy that is a favourite target for amateur astronomers. The supernova appeared in the galaxy Messier 82, or M82 for short, which lies about 11.4 million light-years away, right on our doorstep in cosmic terms.
Estimates of its brightness put it at a little above 12th magnitude, making it a telescopic target. However, supernova experts say it was discovered early in its explosive outburst and so could reach magnitude 8, which would make it visible in binoculars.