Picture of the month – May 2023

Every month, we will share an image obtained with one of the astronomical infrastructures of the LaSciL project.

In the evening of May 19, 2023, Japanese amateur astronomer Koichi Itagaki noticed a star in the galaxy Messier 101 that was not there in previous images. It turned out that Itagaki discovered a supernova, a powerful explosion of a massive star that can be shine as a whole galaxy during few weeks.

The light from the supernova travelled 21 million light years before reaching Earth. Even at that distance, it is one of the brightest supernovae observed in the local universe. It has become one of the most observed celestial targets recently, including by the teachers and students that participate in the LaSciL Project.

The image aboce was acquired on May 21 2023 by students of the astrophysics club of Model Junior High School of Heraklion, Greece, under the supervision of teacher Maria Eleftheriou, using the Faulkes Telescope North. It is a 120-second exposure on the rp filter. The supernova can be seen on the top right corner, indicated by the red arrow.

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