Light from the supernova 2013df has traveled more than 60 million light-years to finally be detectable from Earth, and today you have a chance to see it for yourself.
At 4 p.m. PDT, sky watchers around the world can watch a live video feed of the supernova broadcast from a telescope in the Cayman Islands. The video comes courtesy of the online sky-watching site Slooh.com.
A type II supernova occurs when a star more than 10 times more massive than our sun runs out of nuclear fuel and collapses in on itself. As the star implodes, its core gets hotter and more dense, until eventually the implosion bounces off the core and explodes out into space in a great burst of light and solar material.
The brief burst of light is so bright that it can outshine an entire galaxy. When the implosion is over, what remains is a super-dense object known as a neutron star.
Supernova 2013df lies in the spiral galaxy NGC 4414 in the constellation Coma Berenices and is particularly popular for amateur astronomers because of its unique structure. (It is a dusty galaxy and has dark patches and streaks on its sprial arms).
Amateur astronomers first discovered this supernova in June after noticing that there was suddenly what looked like a bright star in the galaxy that wasn't visible just a few days before.
If you have a large telescope at home, you might be able to find this supernova, but Patrick Paolucci, the president of Slooh, said you need to have at least an eight-inch telescope to see it.
During the broadcast, Paolucci and his team will describe where the supernova is in the sky, and show images of its home galaxy before and after the light from the supernova was visible.
Supernovas are not visible for long, and this one is already starting to fade, so if you want to check it out, today may be last your chance.
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