Astronomers potentially close to their goal of observing a star just before it goes supernova
"With this galaxy survey, we're making our own luck. We're studying all the variable stars in 25 galaxies, so that when one of them happens go supernova, we've already compiled data on it." The supernova, labeled 2011dh, was first detected on May 31 and is still visible in telescopes. It originated from a binary star system in the Whirlpool Galaxy -- also known as M51, one of the galaxies that the Ohio State astronomers have been observing for three years.
In the first survey of its kind, the researchers have been scanning 25 nearby galaxies for stars that brighten and dim in unusual ways, in order to catch a few that are about to meet their end. In the three years since the study began, this particular unnamed binary system in the Whirlpool Galaxy was the first among the stars they've cataloged to produce a supernova.
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