In 2024, the first visible supernova explosion in 80 years will occur – how to look at it

A supernova is a star that, at the end of its evolutionary development, suddenly explodes and emits bright light into space. Without any exaggeration, this is one of the most powerful phenomena that can happen in the Universe. As a result of the explosion, the supernova begins to shine much brighter than billions of ordinary stars in the galaxy. The explosions of some supernovae can be seen in the night sky, but people of the current generation have never witnessed this grandiose event. In 2024, from May to September, astronomy lovers should look through their telescopes more often. The fact is that during this period, the star Tau, which is located three light years away from us, may flare up in the constellation Corona Borealis.

In 2024, the first visible supernova explosion in 80 years will occur - how to look at it. In 2024, astronomy lovers will be able to see a supernova explosion. Photo.

In 2024, astronomy lovers will be able to see a supernova explosion


  • 1 Supernova explosion visible from Earth
  • 2 When does a supernova explode
  • 3 Supernova Tau explosion
  • 4 How to find the constellation Corona Borealis

Supernova explosion visible from Earth

The last time people could notice a supernova explosion was on October 9, 1604. Then the Kepler Supernova (SN 1604), which is located in our galaxy, in the constellation Ophiuchus, flashed in the sky. Despite the fact that it was located at a distance of 20 thousand light years, European, Chinese and Korean scientists were able to see the flash – at least they left records of this event. Johannes Kepler made a great contribution to the study of this supernova, which is why it is named after him.

A supernova explosion visible from Earth. Kepler's supernova. Image: Photo.

Kepler's supernova. Image:

The Kepler Supernova explosion could be seen in the sky with the naked eye. She looked like a bright dot in the sky that did not disappear for a whole year. It left behind clouds that scientists can find in the constellation Ophiuchus even today.

Read also: The closest supernova to Earth caused a mass extinction 2.6 million years ago

When will a supernova erupt

No scientist can accurately predict when the next supernova explosion will occur. They can only name a very wide period of time within which an astronomical event can occur. For example, Betelgeuse, a bright star in the constellation Orion, may erupt in the next thousand years. But there are no more accurate forecasts at the current level of technology development.

When a supernova erupts. Betelgeuse can also erupt at any moment. Image: Photo.

Betelgeuse can also flare up at any moment. Image:

Supernova Explosion Tau

In the near future we will not see a supernova explosion, after which it will cease to exist. But scientists believe that from May to September 2024, a similar event may occur in the constellation Corona Borealis.

In this constellation there are two objects called Tau – a red giant and a white dwarf. They revolve around each other, and the second has such powerful gravity that it constantly pulls substances from the first onto itself. In 80 Earth years, it manages to stock up on so much hydrogen that a thermonuclear explosion occurs. Somehow it doesn't damage the giant and the dwarf, and this process happens again and again.

Tau supernova explosion. The interaction of two Tau objects as imagined by an artist. Image: Photo.

The interaction of two Tau objects as imagined by the artist. Image:

This explosion is so powerful that the astronomical phenomenon is considered a supernova explosion. For the first time, this explosion was seen at a distance of 3 thousand light years by a researcher from southern Germany. While observing the constellation Corona Borealis, he noticed that one of the faint stars became brighter, and a week later returned to its original state. This was one of the thermonuclear explosions of the Tau star. Subsequently, this event was observed every 80 years. The last time Tau exploded was in 1946, and recently astronomers have noticed new signs of an imminent explosion.

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How to find the constellation Corona Northern

The supernova explosion will be visible to the naked eye and will appear as a bright star in the sky. To find it, you first need to understand where the constellation Corona Borealis is located. It is located to the left of Ursa Major and looks like a small arc of seven stars. Tau is located at the left edge – if you periodically look at this area, in the summer of 2024 you will notice that the star has become brighter. After about a week it will go out again and will only be visible through binoculars or a telescope.

How to find the constellation Northern Crown. The constellation Northern Crown in the night sky. Image: Photo.

The constellation Corona Borealis in the night sky. Image:

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To quickly find planets, stars and other space objects in the sky, it is best to use special applications. One of the most popular is Stellarium, which is available on Android and iOS. By launching it, you can point your smartphone camera at the night sky and see what is where and right on the screen. To learn more about this tool and download it, take a look at our article “How to monitor the ISS while on Earth?”