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Supernova in the Whirlpool


THIS year has so far seen two bright Supernovae in our local group of Galaxies.

A Supernova discovered in the Whirlpool galaxy Messier catalogue no M51 on May31st, was photographed by NWAS a couple of days after its discovery. 

Designated Supernova 2011dh. At its height the Supernova brightened to around Magnitude 12 and gave the appearance of a foreground star in our own galaxy

The Whirlpool Galaxy M51 in the constellation Canes Venatici close to Ursa Major (The Plough) is one of our best known galaxies, classed as a grand design spiral galaxy and part of our local group. The Whirlpool is a face on spiral galaxy that is interacting with its close neighbour NGC 5195 it lies approximately 26 light years from Earth

The picture above has markers to highlight the Supernova outburst the picture inset for comparison was taken last year before the Supernova outburst

Supernovae are amongst the most violent outbursts in the universe; our knowledge of such events is still ongoing.  Its safe to say that our star the sun does not fall into the category of star that ends its life in this way.

The last recorded Supernova event in our own Milky Way Galaxy was recorded over 400 years ago and at its brightest outshone every star in the sky.