For the first time since SN1987A there’s a nearby supernova and this one was apparently caught during it’s brightness increase.
From Meg Urry’s article:
Type Ia supernovae have happened in our galactic neighborhood only three times in the last 80 years.
The reason Type Ia supernovae are special is their uniformity. Basically, they all explode at about the same mass, so they are all roughly equally luminous. Better understanding the physics of that explosion and the effect of local galactic environment will make Type Ia supernovae even better “standard candles” and improve our understanding of the properties of dark energy and the cosmological evolution of the universe. The more data we can get, and the closer the supernova, the better the calibration.
Why is this supernova J only 21 days into January, i.e, the 10th supernova so var this year? From the International Astronomical Union (IAU) here’s the list of discoveries so far.
Image credit: UCL/University of London Observatory/Steve Fossey/Ben Cooke/Guy Pollack/Matthew Wilde/Thomas Wright (CC BY 3.0)