Imaging a Supernova

M101 The Pinwheel Galaxy in Ursa Major – the site of this year’s Supernova SN 2023ixf!

I have always been fascinated with the life cycle of a star, in particular the end of life, when the star has used up all of its fuel, swollen to become a Red Giant, then, when gravity takes over, the sudden collapse resulting in a supernova explosion.

These massive explosions can outshine the main galaxy for several months.

Back in April 2022, the partner galaxy to Messier 60, NGC 4647, situated in the constellation of Virgo 63 million light years away witnessed a supernova event when a collapsing white dwarf star outshone the main galaxy.

Supernova SN2022HRS

Then in May 2023, closer to home at 21 million light years, a supernova occurred in the Great Pinwheel Galaxy M101 situated in the constellation of Ursa Major – SN2023ixf.

The location of M101 The Great Pinwheel Galaxy

I had imaged the galaxy just 10 days prior to the supernova event.

Then in May 2023, a star in the main spiral arm of M101, in an area designated NGC 5461 exploded!

M101 and the site of the supernova event in NGC 5461
NGC 5461 on 13th May 2023
The supernova event on 230523 in NGC 5461
M101 with supernova SN 2023ixf

To think that M101 is situated 21 million light years from Earth. In the space of just 10 days I have captured an event that took place 21 million years ago. The event happened when on Earth, in the Miocene epoch, when the earliest ancestors of apes and humans first evolved traits including an upright posture, that distinguished them from their monkey cousins.

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Many thanks – check back soon,



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