It is located about 10 million light years away in the constellation Cepheus. Its distance from Earth is about 25.2 million light years or 7.72 megaparsecs, similar to the distance of M101 (NGC 545 in the constellation Ursa Major). NGC 6946, sometimes called the Fireworks Galaxy, is an intermediate spiral galaxy with a small bright core whose position in the sky straddles the boundary between the northern constellations of Cepheus and Cygnus. In the past century, eight supernovae have been observed exploding in the arms of this galaxy called NGC 6946, which is located about 10 million light-years away in the constellation Cepheus.
In the past century, eight supernovae have been observed exploding in the arms of this galaxy called NGC 6946. On Friday, the agency shared previously unseen views of the galaxy NGC 6946, better known as the “fireworks galaxy,” which frequently features fleeting supernovae that create the illusion of fireworks.
What happened to NGC 6946?
In the last 100 years, astronomers have observed ten supernova explosions in the Fireworks Galaxy, as NGC 6946 is better known. This small galaxy is the most prolific producer of supernovae in the known universe, triggering these incredible explosions about once a decade. Last night, Utah amateur Patrick Wiggins spotted a possible bright supernova in the spiral galaxy NGC 6946 in the constellation Swan. Through a combination of luck and hard work, Wiggins managed to catch the star in the early stages of the explosion.
Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope indicate that the star did not survive, although some infrared emission can still be seen from its position.
Why is NGC 6946 called the Fireworks Galaxy?
According to NASA, stargazers can marvel at NGC 6946 because it is a “face-on” galaxy, meaning the observer always sees it from the front. NGC6946, the “fireworks galaxy”, lies between 10 and 20 million light-years away on the border between the constellations of Cepheus and Cygnus and was discovered by Sir William Herschel (1738-182) on 9 September 1798. According to NASA, stargazers can marvel at NGC 6946 because it is a frontal galaxy, which means observers always see it from the front. NGC 6946, the “Fireworks Galaxy”, is located between 10 and 20 million light years away on the border between the constellations of Cepheus and Cygnus and was discovered by Sir William Herschel (1738-182) on 9 September 1798. The Fireworks Galaxy is an intermediate spiral galaxy, which means that the structure of NGC 6946 lies between a full spiral galaxy and a barred spiral galaxy, with only a slight bar at the centre.
How many stars does NGC 6946 have?
I observed the galaxy on Friday evening and there was one star near the edge, but I was pretty sure it was a foreground star. My ship’s position is GPS-accurate, but I aimed at the stars with the crappiest hand compass I’ve ever had the privilege of using, and calculated the declination using my finger belt. Through a combination of luck and hard work, Wiggins managed to see the star in the early stages of the explosion.
What kind of galaxy is NGC 2146?
NGC 2146, the large galaxy in the lower right corner of the image, is classified as a peculiar barred spiral. It has a prominent large core bulge with many irregular absorption markings and two smooth spiral arms, one of which has a dark trace. The gravitational perturbation to which NGC 2146 is subjected compresses the hydrogen-rich nebula and triggers the birth of a star. The most likely explanation is that a neighbouring galaxy is gravitationally disturbing it and distorting the orbits of many of NGC 2146’s stars.
This peculiar galaxy with large arms and a large core disk has a distorted tidal structure that is thought to be the result of a close encounter or merger with a companion galaxy about 800,000 years ago, although no companion is visible today.