This spiral galaxy (NGC 3972) is in the Ursa Major constellation. In fact several galaxies are visible in the image. Of course, all those galaxies lie well outside ours. But, all the stars that you see in the image are members of the Milky Way. All but one.
”]The distance to NGC 3972 is estimated to be 13.6 Mpc. That’s about 44,363,200 light years. At that distance NGC 3972’s stars are so far from us that their combined light merge into the spiral form that we see. However, the star indicated by the tick marks is a member of NGC 3972. The only reason that we see that individual star is that it has very violently exploded as a supernova.
SN 2011by, a type 1a supernova, was discovered by Chinese astronomers on April 26th 2011.
This image was taken last night (6 May 2011). It is a stack of 20 thirty second exposures.