Another Night, Another Supernova

Supernova 2020jfo in M61 is not the only supernova occurring at the moment. Actually there are over sixty supernova in progress at the moment that we know of. The modern transient search programs locate them by the dozens, and while the average large galaxy might have one supernova a century, there are an enormous number of galaxies we can observe while monitoring for those great explosions.

Currently the brightest supernova is 2020hvf at magnitude 12.4 hosted by galaxy NGC3643 in Leo. Unlike the pretty face-on spiral of M61, this small 14th magnitude galaxy is completely outshone by the supernova. Looking at the image one is struck by the realization that for a week or two that one star is outshining the combined light of the hundreds of billions of other stars that make up an entire galaxy.

NGC3643 with supernova SN2020hvf on the evening of Mar 15, 2020
NGC3643 with supernova SN2020hvf on the evening of Mar 15, 2020

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on Mauna Kea, Hawai'i.

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