In this column, I want to encourage you to sketch the last moments of a massive star’s life — an event known as a supernova — and the debris visible after such an explosion — a supernova remnant.
Astronomers document hundreds of supernovae each year, but few shine brightly enough for visual observers to enjoy. On January 21, Steve Fossey, a faculty member at University College London, and his astronomy class discovered SN 2014J, a supernova that reached magnitude 10.5. Immediately, skywatchers pointed even the smallest telescopes at its host, the Cigar Galaxy (M82) in Ursa Major, to soak in the view.
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