Did you know about the Pinwheel Galaxy? It’s this awesome spiral galaxy located all the way in the Ursa Major constellation, which means about 21 million light-years away from us! It was first spotted by Pierre Méchain back in the eighteenth century, and he shared the discovery with Charles Messier.
Messier was so impressed by the discovery of the galaxy that he included it in his famous Messier Catalogue. The Pinwheel Galaxy is pretty special, being a face-on galaxy, which means we get to see its beautiful spiral structure in all its glory. It’s like a stunning cosmic pinwheel spinning through the vastness of space.
A fresh supernova has burst onto the scene, captivating astronomers and stargazers alike. Dubbed SN 2023ixf, this supernova was first detected by Japanese astronomer Koichi Itagaki last month on May 19 within the beautiful Pinwheel Galaxy, according to CNN. This cosmic event marks the closest supernova sighting in the last five years.
Yes!!! You go @jendrews! She and @GeminiObs colleagues are behind the best image of the #supernova in M101 yet! Be sure to check out the zoomable image. It’s hard to miss SN 2023ixf. https://t.co/ZUyzusH88A https://t.co/Pn3FFoUm9R pic.twitter.com/i6oGyu4H02
— Danny Milisavljevic (@astro_dan_mil) June 9, 2023
The Pinwheel Galaxy has spiral arms that brim with nebulae, glowing pink with stellar birth. Among this galactic tapestry, the new supernova shines brightly, showcasing a vibrant blue hue.
Believed to be a Type II supernova, this explosion happens when a massive star, which is about eight to 50 times the mass of our sun, exhausts its nuclear fuel and collapses in a cataclysmic event.
Astrophysicists are eagerly observing this newfound supernova, aiming to unravel the mysteries of stellar explosions and closely monitoring its luminosity as it evolves and diminishes over time.
Captured by the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii, the new image of the supernova’s aftermath serves as a significant milestone for the observatory.
The Pinwheel Galaxy is known to have a radius that reaches roughly 85,000 light-years, which means that it’s larger than the one of our own Milky Way galaxy.