FOR KIDS: Fireworks near the Big Dipper

Astronomers see a star as it explodes

FOR KIDS: Fireworks near the Big Dipper

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This is the Pinwheel galaxy, a particularly stunning neighbor more than 20 million light-years away. Evidence of a star explosion in this galaxy recently reached Earth, and scientists trained their telescopes on it to watch the light show.NOAO, AURA, NSF, G. Jacoby, B. Bohannan and M. Hanna

Twenty-one million years ago, a white dwarf star exploded in a burst of light and energy that began racing through space in all directions. In late August, a robotic telescope in California detected evidence of the event. Word went out to stargazers all over the world, who turned their telescopes to watch the light show.

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