The nearest type Ia supernova in 400 years has been found in the Messier 82 (M82) galaxy. First spotted on 21 January 2014, it is relatively close to Earth, about 11.4 million light years away!
This supernova is called SN2014J (the 10th supernova discovered so far during 2014), and is a rare kind. “Type Ia” supernovae (SNe) are believed to be caused by exploding white dwarf stars. These SNe explode with very predictable brightnesses, making them ideal ‘standard candles’ to measure distances to galaxies accurately.
Now that it has reached maximum brightness, around Jan 31 (with a magnitude in the R band of about 10), GLORIA will keep monitoring the SN2014J light-curve (along with other supernovae) for the next few months as part of the regular program conducted by some of the GLORIA partners. Indeed, many astronomical observatories worldwide (including space-borne facilities) will point to this unique target regularly over the coming weeks.