And if you want to check it out for yourself, you’re in luck – you’ll be able to witness the phenomenon for free online on Thursday.
The supernova, SN 2023ifx, was discovered by Japanese astronomer Koichi Itagaki on May 19 and was subsequently located on automated images from the Zwicky Transient Facility two days earlier, according to a news release from NASA.
SN2023ixf was spotted in the Pinwheel Galaxy M101, which, being about 21 million light-years away, makes it the closest supernova seen in the past five years, the second closest in the past 10 years and the second supernova found in M101 in the past 15 years, NASA added.
Observations made after the discovery indicated that SN 2023ixf is a Type II supernova. NASA says it is an explosion that occurs after a massive star runs out of nuclear fuel and collapses.
In addition, NASA says SN 2023ixf will likely continue to brighten and remain visible to telescopes for months – and you can watch it at home for free.
How to watch the new supernova explode
You may not be able to check it out on your own, but a livestream being broadcast on Thursday night will give the average person at home a glimpse into what’s happening with SN 2023ixtf.
"While we discover many supernova candidates every year, having one of them visible through small telescopes is exceptional," a statement on the website read. "SN 2023ixf is one of them, thanks to its distance of "just" 20 million light-years from us."
The show will kick off at 6 p.m. EDT (22:00 UTC) on Thursday.