Nearly Extinct Hood Island Giant Tortoises Have Made Comeback from 15 to 1,000

A population of Hood Island giant tortoises, which once dwindled to just over a dozen, has recovered on the Galapagos island of Española, says a team of scientists led by Prof James Gibbs of the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry. The Hood Island giant tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis or Chelonoidis [...] —> Read More Here

Possible Bright Supernova Lights Up Spiral Galaxy M61

An animation showing a comparison between the confirmation image (at top) and an archive photo. Credit: Ernesto Guido, Martino Nicolini, Nick Howes

An animation showing the new supernova in the galaxy M61 photographed on October 30, 2014 paired with an older archive photo Credit: Ernesto Guido, Martino Nicolini, Nick Howes

I sat straight up in my seat when I learned of the discovery of a possible new supernova in the bright Virgo galaxy M61. Since bright usually means close, this newly exploding star may soon become visible in smaller telescopes. It was discovered at magnitude +13.6 on October 29th by Koichi Itagaki of Japan who holds the supernova discovery record with 94 discoveries or co-discoveries to his credit. Itagaki used a CCD camera and 19.6-inch (0.50-m) reflector to spy the new star within one of the galaxy’s prominent spiral arms. Comparison with earlier photos showed no star at the position. Itagaki also nabbed an earlier supernova in M61 in December 2008.

The possible supernova in the bright galaxy M61 in Virgo is located 40″ east and 7″ south of the galaxy’s core at right ascension (RA) 12 h 22′, declination (Dec) +4º 28′ It’s currently magnitude +13.4 and visible in the morning sky before dawn in 8-inch and larger telescopes. Credit: Ernesto Guido, Martino Nicolini, —> Read More Here

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