“Hey everyone, come and see how good I look!” says the nearest and brightest Type Ia supernova discovered in the last thirty-plus years, quoting the venerable Ron Burgundy.

Okay, not really. But all earthly observers with a small telescope (or even binoculars) can see just how good this recent cosmic explosion looks, as Lawrence Berkeley Lab scientist Peter Nugent describes in his sensational YouTube debut.

Tomorrow night (Saturday, September 10 starting after dusk), you can visit the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland to hear Nugent discuss the supernova in person while viewing it through their 36 inch reflector telescope.

This exceptional celestial explosion, known as SN 2011fe or PTF11kly, was discovered on August 24th, 2011 by the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF), a collaborative astronomical survey relying on the work of astronomers around the globe, including many at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBL). UC Berkeley researcher Jeffrey Silverman highlights the rapid and collaborative nature of this discovery, explaining, “This thing was first observed in Palomar, identified as a supernova at LBL, given a supernova type in the Canary Islands, and confirmed in Hawaii and San Jose just hours later. With this big international collaboration, we can monitor its brightness hourly around the world, starting from basically the time of explosion.”
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