Monday, April 15, 2024

Let’s see in the sky.. Amateur astronomer who discovered a supernova in the “Pinwheel” galaxy | Science


While not an expert in the field, Koichi Itagaki has discovered more than 100 supernovae inside and outside our galaxy, along with 3 comets, 5 new planets, and 5 bright blue variable stars.

On May 19, 2023, Find a Japanese amateur astronomer Koichi Itagaki called a supernova in the “Pinwheel” galaxy, which sparked the attention of astronomers around the world, so they began to take many pictures of this rare event, especially the closest nova to Earth in 5 years.

and defines Supernova This is the explosion of one of the giant stars. It occurs at the end of the star’s life when the balance between the nuclear fusion forces and the pressure forces in the star’s interior is broken due to the star’s immense gravity. The burst is the strongest in the entire universe, and it was so strong that amateur astronomers were able to observe the last burst. In a galaxy 21 light-years from Earth, one light-year is about 9.6 trillion km.

This is not the first time that Koichi Itagaki has observed such phenomena. He has discovered more than 100 supernovae, 3 comets, 5 new planets and 5 luminous blue variable stars both inside and outside our galaxy. All this is not a specialist in this area.

A supernova in the “Pinwheel” galaxy discovered by a Japanese amateur astronomer before and after the explosion (British Astronomical Society)

Luminescence is possible for medium and large telescopes

Also, the “Wheel” galaxy was the source of previous supernovae that attracted the attention of astronomers and amateurs. .

It is called a recently discovered supernova Name “SN 2023ixf” (SN 2023ixf), when it was discovered, its brightness in the sky was about 14.9, but since then it has increased to 12.

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To measure the brightness of stars, astronomers use numbers ranging from negative to positive, with the lower the number, the brighter the object. For example, the luminosity of the full moon in the sky is (−12.6), while the luminosity value of Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, is (−1.46).

A medium to large telescope (for example, 8 to 14 inches in diameter) should be able to clearly observe this new supernova at this level of brightness.

Location of the Pinwheel Galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major (Stellarium Software).

Take a trip to the Big Dipper

To reach this supernova, all you need is to know the position in the sky of the constellation Ursa Major, currently one of the constellations you can directly see if you raise your head skyward. Above you from nine to ten pm your local time.

The main structure of the constellation consists of 7 stars that together form a large pan shape. The Pinwheel constellation is located above the point between the stars Alcide and Mizar.

Scientists expect the supernova to continue to appear for several months, making it a perfect opportunity for amateur astronomers in the Arab world to observe the event and take interesting pictures.

Nadia Barnett
Nadia Barnett
"Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator."

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