A supernova discovered yesterday is closer to Earth — approximately 21 million light-years away — than any other of its kind in a generation. Astronomers believe they caught the supernova within hours of its explosion, a rare feat made possible with a specialized survey telescope and state-of-the-art computational tools.
The finding of such a supernova so early and so close has energized the astronomical community as they are scrambling to observe it with as many telescopes as possible, including the Hubble Space Telescope.
Joshua Bloom, assistant professor of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, called it “the supernova of a generation.” Astronomers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and UC Berkeley, who made the discovery predict that it will be a target for research for the next decade, making it one of the most-studied supernova in history. http://newscenter.lbl.gov/feature-stories/2011/08/25/supernova/
Berkeley Scientists Discover an “Instant Cosmic Classic” Supernova