List of supernovae

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SN 1054 remnant
(Crab Nebula)

This is a list of supernovae that are of historical significance. These include supernovae that were observed prior to the availability of photography, and individual events that have been the subject of a scientific paper that contributed to supernova theory.


In most entries, the year when the supernova was seen is part of the designation (1st column).

Constellation Apparent
(light years)
Type Galaxy Comments
SN 185 Centaurus −4 (?) [1] 8,200 Ia (?) Milky Way Surviving description sketchy; modern estimates of maximum apparent magnitude vary from +4 to −8. The remnant is probably RCW 86, some 8200 ly distant,[2] making it comparable to SN 1572. Some researchers have suggested it was a comet, not a supernova.[3][4]
SN 386 Sagittarius +1.5 14,700 II Milky Way The candidate remnant is G11.2-0.3.[5][6]
SN 393 Scorpius –0 34,000   Milky Way  
SN 1006 Lupus –7.5[7] 7,200 Ia Milky Way Widely observed on Earth; in apparent magnitude, the brightest stellar event in recorded history.[8]
SN 1054 Taurus –6 6,500 II Milky Way Remnant is the Crab Nebula with its pulsar (neutron star)
SN 1181 Cassiopeia 0 8,500   Milky Way  
SN 1572 Cassiopeia –4.0 8,000 Ia Milky Way Tycho's Nova
SN 1604 Ophiuchus –3 14,000 Ia Milky Way Kepler's Star; most recent readily visible supernova within the Milky Way
Cas A,
ca. 1680
Cassiopeia +5 9,000 IIb Milky Way Apparently never visually conspicuous, due to interstellar dust; but the remnant, Cas A, is the brightest extrasolar radio source in the sky
SNR G1.9+0.3,
ca. 1868
Sagittarius 25,000 Milky Way "Posthumously" discovered in 1985; age determined in 2008
SN 1885A Andromeda +7 2,400,000 Ipec Andromeda Galaxy First observation of an extragalactic supernova
SN 1895B Centaurus +8.0[9] 10,900,000 NGC 5253  
SN 1937C +8.4[9] 13,000,000 Ia IC 4182  
SN 1940B Coma Berenices +12.8 38,000,000 II-P NGC 4725  
SN 1961V Perseus +12.5 30,000,000 II? NGC 1058 Potential supernova impostor[10]
SN 1972E Centaurus +8.7 [11] 10,900,000 Ia NGC 5253 Followed for more than a year; became the prototypical Type Ia supernova
SN 1983N Hydra +11.8 15,000,000 Ib Messier 83 First observation of a Type Ib supernova
SN 1986J Andromeda +18.4 30,000,000 IIn NGC 891 Bright in the radio frequency range
SN 1987A Dorado +2.9 160,000 IIpec Large Magellanic Cloud Intense radiation reached Earth on February 23, 1987, 7:35:35 UT. Notable for archival photos of progenitor star and detection of supernova neutrinos. Most recent Local Group supernova
SN 1993J Ursa Major +10.8 11,000,000 IIb M81 One of the brightest supernovae in the northern sky since 1954
SN 1994D Virgo +15.2 50,000,000 Ia NGC 4526
SN 1998bw Telescopium  ? 140 Million Ic ESO 184-G82 Linked to GRB 980425, which was the first time a gamma-ray burst has been linked to a supernova.
SN 2002bj Lupus +14.7 160,000,000 Ia NGC 1821 AM Canum Venaticorum-type outburst.[12]
SN 2003fg Boötes 4,000,000,000 Ia anonymous galaxy Also known as the "Champagne supernova"
SN 2004dj Camelopardalis 8,000,000 Ia (SAB) NGC 2403 NGC 2403 is an outlying member of the M81 Group
SN 2005ap Coma Berenices 4,700,000,000 II  ? Announced in 2007 to be the brightest supernova up to that point.
SN 2005gj 865,000,000 Ia/II-n  ? Notable for having characteristics of both Type Ia and Type IIn.
SN 2005gl Pisces +16.5 200,000,000 II-n NGC 266 Star could be found on old pictures.[13]
SN 2006gy Perseus +15 240,000,000 IIn (*) NGC 1260 Observed by NASA,
*with a peak of over 70 days, possibly a new type.
SN 2007bi Virgo +18.3 Ic? anonymous dwarf galaxy Extremely bright and long-lasting, the first good observational match for the pair-instability supernova model postulated for stars of initial mass greater than 140 solar masses (even better than SN 2006gy). The precursor is estimated at 200 solar masses, similar to the first stars of the early universe.[14]\
SN 2007uy Lynx +16.8 84 Million Ibc NGC 2770 Got overshadowed by SN 2008D.
SN 2008D Lynx 88,000,000 Ibc NGC 2770 First supernova to be observed while it exploded.
MENeaC Abell399.3.14.0 Aries +28.7 1,000,000,000
Ia anonymous red globular cluster associated with anonymous red elliptical galaxy in cluster Abell 399 Observed in 2009. Supernova associated with a globular cluster [15][16]
SN 2010lt Camelopardalis +17.0 240 Million Ia (sub-luminous) UGC 3378 Discovered by 10-year-old girl, the youngest person to discover a supernova.
SN 2011fe Ursa Major +10.0 21,000,000 Ia M101 One of the very few extragalactic supernovae visible in 50mm binoculars.
SN 2014J Ursa Major +10.5 11,500,000 Ia M82 Closest supernova since SN 2004dj in NGC 2403.
ASAS-SN-15lh SN 2015L Indus +16.9 3,800,000,000 Ic APMUKS(BJ) B215839.70−615403.9 Most luminous supernova ever observed.


  1. ^ Modern estimates vary widely; see SN 185 for more detail.
  2. ^ "New evidence links stellar remains to oldest recorded supernova" Chandra X-ray Observatory, released 2006-09-18, revised 2009-02-20, retrieved 2010-02-26.
  3. ^ Chin YN, Huang YL. "Identification of the Guest Star of AD 185 as a comet rather than a supernova". Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. 
  4. ^ Zhao FY, Strom RG, Jiang SY (2006). "The Guest Star of AD185 Must Have Been a Supernova". Chinese J Astron Astrophys. 6 (5): 635–40. Bibcode:2006ChJAA...6..635Z. doi:10.1088/1009-9271/6/5/17. 
  5. ^ SEDS. "Supernova 386". 
  6. ^ National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). "The Supernova of 386 AD". 
  7. ^ Winkler, P. Frank; Gupta, Gaurav; Long, Knox S. (2003). "The SN 1006 Remnant: Optical Proper Motions, Deep Imaging, Distance, and Brightness at Maximum". The Astrophysical Journal. 585 (1): 324–335. Bibcode:2003ApJ...585..324W. arXiv:astro-ph/0208415Freely accessible. doi:10.1086/345985. 
  8. ^ "Astronomers Peg Brightness of History’s Brightest Star" (Press release). National Optical Astronomy Observatory. 2003-03-05. Retrieved 2009-01-12. 
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ Voisey, Jon (5 November 2010). "What was SN 1961V?". Universe Today. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  11. ^ Ardeberg, A.; de Groot, M. (1973). "The 1972 supernova in NGC 5253. Photometric results from the first observing season". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 28: 295–304. Bibcode:1973A&A....28..295A. 
  12. ^ Sanders, Robert. "Rapid supernova could be new class of exploding star". UC Newsroom. University of California, Berkeley. Archived from the original on 2011-06-13. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  13. ^ David Bishop. "Supernova 2005gl in NGC 266". Rochester Academy of Science. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  14. ^ Science Daily, "Superbright Supernova Is First of Its Kind", 5 December 2009 (accessed 2009-12-15)
  15. ^ Melissa L. Graham; David J. Sand; Dennis Zaritsky; Chris J. Pritchet (13 May 2015). "Confirmation of Hostless Type Ia Supernovae Using Hubble Space Telescope Imaging". The Astrophysical Journal. 807: 83. Bibcode:2015ApJ...807...83G. arXiv:1505.03407Freely accessible. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/807/1/83. 
  16. ^ Robert Sanders (4 June 2015). "Exiled stars explode far from home". UC Berkeley News Center. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Green, David A. (2015). Orchiston, Wayne; Green, David A.; Strom, Richard, eds. Historical Supernova Explosions in Our Galaxy and Their Remnants. New Insights From Recent Studies in Historical Astronomy: Following in the Footsteps of F. Richard Stephenson, Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings. 43. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. pp. 91–100. ISBN 978-3-319-07613-3. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-07614-0_7. 

External links[edit]