Closest supernova in 27 years may reveal fate of cosmos
An elderly star has lit up a cosmic cigar. Images of the galaxy M82, also known as the Cigar Galaxy, show the sudden appearance of a supernova, the brilliant explosion when a massive star dies. The event might offer new clues to dark energy and the ultimate fate of the universe.
The light from this explosion is reaching us from about 11.4 million light years away. That’s not as close to Earth as the current record holder, which appeared about 160,000 light years away in a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. Still, that was in 1987 and the new supernova is the closest one we’ve spotted since then.