The spiral galaxy NGC 6946 (shown in false color) lies at a distance of 17 million light years
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Two Worlds Collide
News story originally written on July 20, 1997
Astronomers saw a very bright object using a telescope in Arizona. It was seen again by the ROSAT satellite.
Astronomers thought it was a supernova. A supernova is when It is located 17 million light years away and can be viewed in the northern constellation Cepheus. a star explodes. The explosion throws off layers of the star at very high speeds.
The astronomers took pictures of the object using the Hubble Space Telescope. These pictures showed two supernovae (the plural of supernova). The two supernovae were crashing into each other.
Just like two cars crashing, two supernovae crashing can be dramatic. In this case the crashing caused the fantastic light display that astronomers first saw.
The supernovae are in a galaxy called NGC 6946. (If you could name your own galaxy, what would you name it?) The NGC 6946 is like our own galaxy, the Milky Way, because it is a spiral galaxy.
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