Another stunning M95 supernova pic, and the star that blew up may have been found!

Adam Block of the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter took what may be the loveliest photo yet of the new supernova SN2012aw in the nearby spiral galaxy M95. It clearly shows the explosion as a blue star, the brightest single thing in the galaxy. Imagine: a single star, exploding with such violence it outshines an entire galaxy with billions of other stars!

And the identity of that star may now be known: combing through older Hubble images, astronomers found a red supergiant sitting right where the progenitor should be. That's almost certainly the culprit, and that means we have a picture taken of it just a few years before it would tear itself apart in one of the biggest explosions in the Universe.


[Image credit: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona]
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