Supernova 1987A

Supernova 1987A exploded just 168,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, captured here in a Hubble Space Telescope image.

NASA / ESA / K. France / P. Challis / R. Kirshner

In the cover story of the October 2013 issue of Sky & Telescope, author Bob Zimmerman tells the story of the hunt for exploding stars. Professional astronomers have taken the lead in recent years with the advent of automated sky surveys, but amateurs have managed to stay in the game. Groups of amateur astronomers have made an impressive number of discoveries, and below we list some of the main players.

The International Astronomical Union maintains a list of every supernova recorded since 1885 (as well as four earlier galactic supernovae) at their Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams. David Bishop has also maintained a list of most supernovae since 1997.

For a personal take on supernova hunts, read Michael Schwartz's interview with Robert Evans.


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