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Supernova 1604, also known as Kepler’s Supernova, or Kepler’s Star, was a supernova of Type Ia that occurred in the Milky Way, in the constellation Ophiuchus.
What is the Kepler’s Supernova?
Appearing in 1604, it is the most recent supernova in our own galaxy to have been unquestionably observed by the naked eye, occurring no farther than 6 kiloparsecs or about 20,000 light-years from Earth. Visible to the naked eye, Kepler’s Star was brighter at its peak than any other star in the night sky, with an apparent magnitude of −2.5. It was visible during the day for over three weeks.
The supernova was also recorded in Chinese and Korean sources. The first recorded observation was by Lodovico delle Colombe in northern Italy on 9 October 1604. Johannes Kepler began observing the luminous display on October 17 while working at the imperial court in Prague for Emperor Rudolf II. It was subsequently named after him, even though he was not its first observer, as his observations tracked the object for an entire year and because of his book on the subject, entitled “On the new star in Ophiuchus’s foot”.
It was the second supernova to be observed in a generation. No further supernovae have since been observed with certainty in the Milky Way, though many others outside our galaxy have been seen since S Andromedae in 1885. SN 1987A in the Large Magellanic Cloud was easily visible to the naked eye. The supernova remnant resulting from Kepler’s supernova is considered to be one of the prototypical objects of its kind and is still an object of much study in astronomy.
A supernova is an astronomical event that occurs during the last stellar evolutionary stages of a massive star’s life, whose dramatic and catastrophic destruction is marked by one final titanic explosion. This causes the sudden appearance of a “new” bright star, before slowly fading from sight over several weeks or months.
Only three Milky Way naked-eye supernova events have been observed during the last thousand years, though many have been seen in other galaxies using telescopes. The most recent directly observed supernova in the Milky Way was Kepler’s Supernova in 1604, but the remnants of two more recent supernovae have also been found. Statistical observations of supernovae in other galaxies suggest they occur on average about three times every century in the Milky Way, and that any galactic supernova would almost certainly be observable with modern astronomical telescopes.
Text: Wikipedia contributors. “IC 443.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2 Jul. 2017. Web. 11 Aug. 2017. & Wikipedia contributors. “Supernova.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 5 Aug. 2017. Web. 11 Aug. 2017.