If you listen to an astronomer talk about a supernova, you’ll probably hear something along the lines of ‘A massive explosion of a massive star that is bright enough to outshine an entire galaxy.’ You can imagine how bright it might be, but it doesn’t really give you enough context to get the wow factor from it. Carl Sagan always said ‘When you make the finding yourself – even if you’re the last person on Earth to see the light – you’ll never forget it.’ Now you, dear reader, have the chance to make the discovery yourself. A series of images of galaxy NGC 2442 show the galaxy’s 100 Billion or so stars, but suddenly, one of them explodes as a supernova. Normally lost among the galaxy of stars, Supernova SN2015F quickly brightens and rivals the core of its host galaxy in only a few short days.
Imagine being on a planet orbiting one of the nearby stars. As soon as this thing explodes, everything within about 1000 light years is cooked by the radiation. We are millions of light years away and we see this incredible brightness as if a new star formed within our own galaxy.
A supernova is a rare and amazing event that pushes the laws of Physics to their limits. If one of the stars in our night sky exploded as a supernova, it would be bright enough to see in the daytime, presuming it’s not close enough to fry us.