writes to tell us BBC News is reporting that astronomers have sighted a star on the brink of a "1a" supernova
. This opportunity presents the first chance astronomers have ever had to view a supernova of this magnitude up close. From the article: "They are so rare that the last one known in our galaxy was seen in 1572 by the great Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, who first coined the term nova, for "new star", not realizing he was in fact witnessing the violent end of an unknown star. It has long been believed that type 1a supernovae are the death throes of a white dwarf star. But all modern ones have been so distant that it has not been possible to see what had been there beforehand."