Subscribe to Flamsteed via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this website and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,782 other subscribers

September 14, 2015

Supernovae and Serendipity: the Discovery of a Thermonuclear Supernova in the Cigar Galaxy

Dr Steve Fossey
Report by: Mike Meynell
Dr Steve Fossey

Dr Steve Fossey

Thermonuclear supernovae signal the sudden and explosive destruction of a white-dwarf star. They are key to calibrating the expansion and acceleration of the cosmos; yet they occur rarely amongst the galaxies of our immediate cosmic neighbourhood. Serendipitously, in January 2014 one such supernova, the closest in a generation, was discovered in the nearby galaxy Messier 82 (the `Cigar Galaxy’) from UCL’s teaching observatory in north-west London, triggering a world-wide effort to secure critical follow-up data.

The Flamsteed were delighted to welcome Dr Steve Fossey for our first lecture of the 2015/16 season. Steve told the story of that night and its aftermath: the race to report, and recent results that promise fresh insight into the nature of these cosmologically significant events.

Here are a few pictures from the evening:

Pictures from the Evening (by Malcolm Porter):

Posted under: Flamsteed, Flamsteed Lecture, Meeting Report