Johannes Kepler is one lucky man. He was alive 400 years ago to be able to see the youngest supernova in the Milky Way that has been seen from Earth. Amazingly, he was able to see the Kepler supernova without the aid of a telescope. They hadn’t been invented yet. What he saw looked like an extremely bright new star that slowly faded in brightness over several weeks. He recorded his observations and astronomers today are able to reference them.
Stephen Reynolds over at North Carolina State University and a team of astronomers have been busy using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Telescope to create some amazing images of supernova. The one of the Kepler remnant (pictured above) was released in 2007.
They definitively determined that Kepler was a Type Ia supernova. They were able to come to that conclusion based on the amount of oxygen and iron that was present in the remnant.
Kepler is roughly 13,000 light-years away from Earth and it has been the focus of many studies by astronomers.