This supernova, named SN 1987A, was first spotted in 1987 by astronomers in Chile. Its brightness peaked that May. SN1987A is in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a nearby galaxy. A supernova has not been observed exploding in our own galaxy, the Milky Way, since 1604. Today, the remnants of SN1987A are brightening again.
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Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Family and Education sections.