You are viewing two images of spiral galaxy M101. One image shows the galaxy with the discovered supernova and the other image shows the same galaxy a month earlier.
What do we see in today’s NASA image?
A nearby star has exploded and all telescopes are reorienting to observe it. The supernova, named SN 2023ixf, was discovered three days ago by Japanese astronomer Koichi Itagaki, and two days later, it was captured on automated images by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF).
SN 2023ixf is located in the beautiful spiral galaxy and is only 21 million light-years away. SN 2023ixf is the closest supernova seen in the last five years, the second closest supernova in the last 10 years, and the second supernova discovered in M101 in the last 15 years. Additional observations show that SN 2023ixf is a type II supernova (an explosion that occurs after the nuclear fuel runs out and a massive star collapses).
The luminosity of SN 2023ixf will probably last for several months and will be visible to telescopes. The study of this close and young type II supernova provides scientists with new clues about massive stars and how they explode.