Image of the Month - October 2016
The Image of the Month for October is of the spiral galaxy, NGC6946, also known as the fireworks galaxy. It is called the fireworks galaxy as we have observed nine supernova, which are the explosions which occur at the end of a very massive stars' lifetime, in the last 100 years. As the stars which turn into supernovae are rare (we have around 100 stars the size of the Sun born for every one which will become a supernova), this is very unusual. In comparison, our own galaxy, the Milky Way contains about twice as many stars as NGC6946, but has an expected rate of one supernova per century (100 years). However, we rarely see supernovae in our own Milky Way as the light tends to be blocked out by the dust within our own galaxy.