How to Watch the Brightest Supernova in Decades This Weekend [VIDEO]

The supernova of a generation will continue to brighten until this coming Wednesday or Thursday, and will be visible just above the handle of the Big Dipper to binocular-wielding backyard astronomers.

In the video below Peter Nugent, an astrophysicist from Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, explains just how to find and view the brightest supernova in decades, a star that exploded about 21 million light years away.

Nugent was the first person to spot the supernova. He said, "Observing PTF 11kly [as it has been named] unfold should be a wild ride. It is an instant cosmic classic."

This new supernova is a Type Ia supernova. A Type Ia supernova is a sub-category of supernovae that results from the violent explosion of a white dwarf star. According to The Daily Galaxy, "There are two leading scenarios for the intermediate step from stable white dwarf to supernova, both of which require a companion star. In the first possibility, a white dwarf swallows gas blowing from a neighboring giant star. In the second possibility, two white dwarfs collide and merge.

Watch Nugent's video below.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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