• The  brightest and closest stellar explosion seen from Earth in 25 years, dazzling professional and backyard astronomers alike.

  • Now, thanks to this rare discovery—which some have called the “supernova of a generation” — astronomers have the most detailed picture yet of how this kind of explosion happens.

  • Known as a Type Ia supernova, this type of blast is an essential tool that allows scientists to measure the expansion of the universe and understand the very nature of the cosmos.

  • The  Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) team discovered the supernova in one of the arms of the Pinwheel Galaxy (also called M101), 21 million light years away.