Massive Explosion Culprit Revealed: A Rogue Supernova

A decade after astronomers first spotted a huge, bright light source in the nearby Circinus galaxy, they've finally identified its source: a supernova, dubbed SN 1996cr. It took coordinating data from 18 different telescopes, via the Internet, to identify that nova, a milestone in the new era of "Internet astronomy." This composite image from the Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra Observatory includes yellow ("I-band"), red (hydrogen emission) and light blue (oxygen emission) data. SN 1996cr is the bright blue flash in the lower right hand side of the image. The Circinus galaxy is frequently studied because it includes a supermassive black hole that's growing actively, and it also has "vigorous star formation." It's also pretty nearby, only about four times as far away as M31. That means researchers had plenty of telescope data on this galaxy to draw from. [Chandra]


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