Astronomers are scrambling to photograph a new supernova in the Pinwheel Galaxy (M101). "This is best supernova in a decade," says Eliot Herman of Tucson, Arizona. "It has tripled in brightness in only 24 hours."
© Eliot Herman of Tucson, Arizona
At this rate, it will soon rival or outshine the spiral galaxy's core.

Astronomer Yvette Cendes of Harvard's Center for Astrophysics says the supernova should continue to brighten for another day or so. "We think it will peak around magnitude +10, although it is hard to be certain."

Discovered by amateur astronomer Koichi Itagaki on May 19th, this is a Type II supernova caused by the core collapse of a massive star. A shock wave has broken out of the dying star, creating a fireball as it plows into circumstellar material. That's what we are seeing now.
SN2023ixf in M101
© Scott Tucker of Tucson, ArizonaThe unusual-for-Arizona rain in May went away in time to catch SN2023ixf in M101 last night. This is 6.5 hours of exposure with a Skywatcher Esprit 150 at f/4.6 with a Starizona Apex reducer and ZWO ASI2600MC camera.
The Pinwheel Galaxy is an popular target for amateur astronomers, easy to find in the constellation Ursa Major (finder chart). Many observers know how it looks and will immediately notice the "extra star" in one of its spiral arms.

"If amateur astronomers have any data from the last few days, particularly right before discovery, it might prove useful for science and end up in some scientific papers!" says Cendes. "Sending the data to the AAVSO is probably the best way to contribute."