Supernova SN 2017aew

May 22, 2017


Photographer: Patrick Wiggins
Summary Author: Patrick Wiggins

May 2017 Viewers' ChoiceI made the discovery of this supernova on May 14, 2017, from my home observatory in Utah by comparing images I took that day with one I had taken a few years ago. It's in a spiral galaxy (NGC 6946) located about 22 million light-years from Earth -- the supernova is the bright object blinking on and off at top center. My supernova observation has now been confirmed and given the designation SN 2017aew. While far too faint to be seen with the naked eye, it can be seen with moderate-sized backyard telescopes under dark skies. As I appear to have caught it early (it did not appear on images taken two nights before), it's expected to brighten slightly for a few days before starting to fade and eventually disappearing from view in a few weeks. SN 2017aew has been determined to be a Type II supernova, meaning it was created when a star many times larger than the Sun died in a cataclysmic explosion.