Supernova SN 2012fr
A new video captures the birth and death of supernova SN 2012fr. ESO

A new video details a supernova’s incredible rise as well as its sudden death. The video is a compilation of images of the supernova SN 2012fr in galaxy NGC 1365, also known as the Great Barred Spiral Galaxy.

Astronomers captured the images of SN 2012fr by using the Télescope à Action Rapide pour les Objets Transitoires, or TAROT, at the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla Observatory, located in Chile. The supernova was discovered by Alain Klotz on Oct. 27, 2012, according to the news release.

The images capture the supernova, the incredible explosion of a star that leads to its death, over the course of three months, from Oct. 28, 2012, until Jan. 17, 2013. SN 2012fr is believed to be a Type Ia supernova, which is when a white dwarf star becomes unstable after consuming too much matter from its companion star, leading to a massive explosion and its eventual destruction. Supernovae only last for a short period of time, a few weeks or a few months. According to the ESO news release, Type Ia supernovae can be used to measure distances to distant galaxies and also led to the discovery that the universe is expanding at an accelerated rate.

The Great Barred Spiral Galaxy is approximately 60 million light-years from Earth and was home so far to four observed supernovae, the most recent being SN2012fr. In ESO’s video, the supernova is located just above NGC 1365’s center and can be seen getting brighter before fading away. SN 2012fr reached its peak brightness on Nov. 11, 2012, notes ESO, and was so bright that if an observer was looking at the supernova and the sun from the same distance, and at the same, the explosion would be 3,000 million times brighter than our sun.