Using a telescope controlled from his home internet connection, amateur astronomer Emmanuel Conseil discovered a new bright star on Christmas day in the Triangulum galaxy – it was a star that had just exploded, likely a nova, a smaller version of a supernova.
According to Slooh’s Community Manager Paul Cox, the discovery was made using “the telescopes Slooh members control every night from the comfort of their own homes.”
This was the second exploding star discovered by Emmanuel with the Slooh telescopes, but having it happen on Christmas makes it extra special. Conseil said “The object was there on my images on Christmas Day, but not there on the 24th. It’s pretty new!”
The nova was discovered in the Triangulum galaxy, a favorite of many amateur astronomers at Slooh. Slooh members can control telescopes based at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands in Spain.
The team at Slooh is commencing follow up observations as of now and plans to share new details on January 5th, 2016 at 2:30 pm EST. A discovery report was also sent out to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) who will issue a call out for follow up observations within the professional community.
The discovery highlights the importance of amateurs in advancing the frontier of science, especially in astronomy.
“Astronomy remains the science where amateurs can contribute valuable scientific work. In fact, many amateur astronomers know more about some topics than some of the pros. They certainly have far greater access to telescopes than their professional counterparts.” said Cox.
Materials provided by Slooh.