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October 7 2012

Supernova "CSI" team investigates old photographs


In a forensic twist on astronomy, scientists turned sleuths are trying to track down the stellar victim of a supernova explosion that occurred last year.

An exploded star was discovered on May 31, 2011, in the famous nearby Whirlpool Galaxy (M51), which lies about 23 million light-years from our own Milky Way. Supernovas are thought to occur when massive stars reach the end of their lives, running out of fuel to power their inner furnaces and collapsing in on themselves to form dense neutron stars or black holes.

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