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Astronomers forgo sleep; eyes fixed on star's explosionhttp://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/story/2011-09-07/Astronomers-forgo-sleep-eyes-fixed-on-stars-explosion/50303380/1#.TmjMWp9vWhAHow to See a Supernova From Your Backyard this Weekendhttp://www.universetoday.com/88617/how-to-see-a-supernova-from-your-backyard-this-weekend/A Stellar Explosion In The Big Dipperhttp://www.npr.org/2011/09/03/140163733/a-stellar-explosion-in-the-big-dippers-handleThe Hubble Space Telescopehttp://hubble.nasa.gov/The Pinwheel Galaxyhttp://www.ing.iac.es/PR/press/m101.htmlWhite Dwarfshttp://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/science/know_l2/dwarfs.htmlAstronomers and others who peer into the night sky are getting quite excited about a rather rare event this Friday. A supernova (an exploding star) out in the Pinwheel Galaxy is expected to peak in brightness, and at only a mere 21 million light years away, it is the closest of its kind to be seen in 40 years. In a recent interview, Peter Nugent of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory summed up the sentiments of many when he said "I'm running on adrenaline right now. A good night is four hours sleep." A number of observatories around the world are casting their telescopes out into the Pinwheel Galaxy to observe and document this rather unusual and fascinating event. This particular supernova is part of the "Type 1a" group, born from a runaway thermonuclear combustion from a white dwarf star. While the blast is quite "close" (cosmically speaking), if it had occurred in the Milky Way galaxy, the light from such an event would be visible during the daytime. Those individuals without their own personal high-end space observatory should not dismay, as a 6-inch telescope or a powerful set of binoculars will let them see part of this magnificent event. The first link will take visitors to a piece from Thursday's USA TODAY about this rather unusual and rare event. The second link will whisk users away to a great video clip from Universe Today that features astrophysicist Peter Nugent talking about how amateur astronauts can best view this event. Moving along, the third link will take users to a nice piece from NPR's Weekend Edition that provides a bit more insight into this supernova. The fourth link leads to NASA's homepage for the Hubble Space Telescope. Here visitors can learn about this technological triumph, and also read about its work examining the Pinwheel Galaxy. The fifth link leads to an amazing photograph of the Pinwheel Galaxy, courtesy of the Isaac Newton Telescope. The last link will take users to a page created by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center that provides some background on white dwarfs.

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  • Science > Astronomy

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