NASA HISTORY: ‘New’ Star Discovered Over 400 Years Ago, Visible To Naked Eye

By  //  October 9, 2019

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On October 9th, 1604, something peculiar happened – a star appeared in the sky that had not been there before. (NASA Image)

(NASA HISTORY) – On October 9th, 1604, something peculiar happened – a star appeared in the sky that had not been there before.

More interesting still, it was brighter than Jupiter, visible to the naked eye, which was convenient considering the telescope would not be invented for several more years. What was this “new star”?

As luck would have it, the light of this “new star” reached Earth at roughly the same time German Astronomer Johannes Kepler was observing the night sky.

Kepler studied it as its brightness waned, culminating in the publishing of his work “De Stella Nova” in 1606.

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It would later be discovered that the “new star” was in fact the explosive death of a star, or a supernova. This supernova would be named Kepler’s Supernova, or SN 1604 in honor of his detailed study of the phenomenon, although he was not the first person to observe it.

As an insatiably curious species, we did not stop studying SN 1604. Thanks to a collaborative effort between NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, and Chandra X-Ray Observatory, the remnants of Kepler’s Supernova were imaged, and the results are spectacular. Using modern technology to see beyond the limitations of the human eye can certainly produce incredible results.

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