Supernova spotted in nearby galaxy

Once in a lifetime opportunity to see an exploding star

Astronomers at Minnesota State University Moorhead were among the first to observe a newly discovered supernova on Thursday, Aug. 24. Telescopes around the world are studying the supernova—a star that exploded in the spiral galaxy M101. This type of stellar explosion is important to scientists because the exploding star is as bright as 100 billion ordinary stars, and can be seen from very large distances. By studying relatively nearby supernova, like the one in M101, astronomers can measure the size and age of the universe and, indirectly, its composition.

Members of the public can see the supernova through both small and large telescopes at the Star Party on the Prairie tonight, Friday, Aug. 26 from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the MSUM Regional Science Center site near Buffalo River State Park (details at

This event will include Regional Science Center staff, members of the Fargo-Moorhead Astronomy Club and scientists and students from the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The images below were taken at the Paul P. Feder Observatory at MSUM’s Regional Science Center by a research group that includes Professors Matt Craig, Linda WInkler and Juan Cabanela from the MSUM department of Physics and Astronomy, Dave Weinrich from the Regional Science Center, and MSUM students Alycia Bergeson, Shouvik Bhattacharya, Hollee Johnson, and Tyler Lane.

To learn more about this new supernova, go to University Today.



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