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Supernova erupts in M66

M66 is a galaxy 36 million light-years away in the direction to our constellation Leo. A star exploded there 36 million years ago … and came into view in Earth’s sky this weekend.

View larger. | The object between the tick marks is Supernova 2016cok, which came into view in Earth's sky this weekend. Photo by Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy, May 29, 2016.

View larger. | The object between the tick marks is Supernova 2016cok. Photo by Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy, May 29, 2016.

Gianluca Masi wrote to EarthSky:

I managed to grab an image of the supernova in Messier 66, discovered on Friday.

On a webpage at his Virtual Telescope Project, he wrote:

On May 28, 2016, the ASAS supernova survey discovered a possible supernova in the amazing Messier 66 spiral galaxy in Leo; the supernova nature was confirmed a few hours later, suggesting a type IIP object. Clouds made impossible to us to image it on the first night, but we had some clear skies the following one.

The image above comes from the average of 11, 120-seconds exposures, unfiltered, remotely collected with the PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E robotic unit part of the Virtual Telescope Project. The supernova was estimated at mag. 16.3 (R mags for the reference stars from UCAC-4). We plan to closely follow-up this object.

This is the 5th supernova showing in Messier 66 since 1973.

Thank you, Gian!

Click here for a page of other images of Supernova 2016cok

Read more about supernovae, which result from the rapid collapse and violent explosion of a massive star

Deborah Byrd

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