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Less than a million years ago, a supernova exploded just *600* light years away!

11 Jun 2020, 13:00 UTC
Less than a million years ago, a supernova exploded just *600* light years away! T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage) and WIYN/NOAO/AURA/NSF

This story starts over 20 years ago, when a pair of astronomers decided to map a large chunk of the sky using essentially a nice telephoto camera equipped with a filter that picks out the light from warm hydrogen gas in space. Gas like that preferentially emits light in the red part of the spectrum (at a wavelength 0.656 microns, if you like geeky numbers) so using a filter centered there blocks out a lot of extraneous light, letting faint hydrogen become visible.

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