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16:00 - 17:00 12 March 2014

On Supernovae and Serendipity: The discovery at UCL of a supernova in the Galaxy M82


B404 Lecture Theatre 2 | Cruciform Building (link Map)
Gower Street | London | WC1E 6BT | United Kingdom

Open to: Academic | Alumni | Public | Student
Admission: Free

Speaker information

Steve Fossey, is a senior teaching fellow at the University of London Observatory - UCL's teaching observatory. He discovered the supernova in M 82 while teaching an undergraduate astrophysics class in January 2014.

The luminous, explosive events which we call Type Ia supernovae arise from the thermonuclear runaway explosion of a white-dwarf star. They are the key to measuring accurate distances to remote galaxies in the Universe, and investigating dark energy. The appearance of a Type Ia supernova in our immediate cosmic neighbourhood is also rather rare, typically one being found every few decades.

Hence, the discovery on January 21, 2014, of a supernova in the nearby galaxy Messier 82 is fortunate – the closest in a generation, well-timed and placed for intensive follow-up by ground-based telescopes and spacecraft observatories. It was even more serendipitous that the discovery was made during a routine undergraduate-teaching session at UCL's University of London Observatory.

Dr Steve Fossey will describe the events that occurred on the night of the discovery.

The event is free, with no need to register for UCL staff and students. Non-UCL people should register


Oli Usher
+44 (0)20 7679 7964 | o.usher@ucl.ac.uk


More information
Booking (only for non-UCL attendees)