Looking the other way

The night sky is a big place. It is so big in fact that it is difficult to monitor all of it all the time. Sometimes, despite the many amateur and professional astronomers looking skywards, something goes bang and we miss it. That happened back in June 2007 when the star USNO-A2.0 0450-03360039 exploded and became a naked eye novae. Nobody on Earth saw it. Luckily, during October 2007, ESA's XMM-Newton accidentally spotted the novae as it was slewing from one target to another and alerted everyone else. It is pretty amazing that between six billion people we failed to spot one of the brightest novae for almost a decade.

There are plans such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope to map the entire sky on a daily basis but they are have not yet been built. In the mean time we will continue to rely on the amateur astronomers of the world and serendipitous discoveries such as this one.

Tags: |
Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Saturday 19th Jul 2008 (01:25 BST) | Permalink
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]