The Cigar Galaxy Lights Up: Supernova 2014J

"Once upon a time in a galaxy 12 million light years away, a tiny white dwarf star went supernova — and for a few fleeting weeks was elevated in brightness to outshine the rest of the stars in its galaxy combined.

The far, far away galaxy is called Messier 82 and lies in the direction of the constellation Ursa Major (Big Bear, Big Dipper). Also known as the “Cigar Galaxy,” owing to its long narrow shape and maybe its ashy appearance in small telescopes, M-82 has been known to us since the late 18th century when Charles Messier observed and cataloged it during his search for comets.”

Learn more from astronomer Ben Burress of Chabot Space & Science Center.

Image: Supernova 2014J in the galaxy M-82, before (2004) and after (January 2014). Credit: Chabot Space & Science Center, Conrad Jung

New Research Affirms That Milky Way Has Four Spiral Arms

Our Milky Way galaxy has four arms instead of two, according to just published results of a 12-year study by scientists in the U.K.

The findings, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, affirm what astronomers surmised in the 1950s but began to doubt in 2008 after seeing images from the Spitzer Space Telescope that could only confirm two spiral arms.”

NASA Creates Stunning Images of the Nearest Major Galaxies

The astronomers at NASA and Pennsylvania State University have created the most detailed ultraviolet survey of our two closest major galaxies: the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds.

Astronomers used imagery from NASA’s Swift Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope to create stunning mosaics. The result: a 160-megapixel mosaic image of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and a 57-megapixel mosaic image of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC).”

To Tumblr, Love Pixel Union