Early in January 2012 the light from a star that exploded in galaxy NGC 3239 reached the Earth. It took 25 million years to complete the journey and so today we witness this 25 million year old light! As this was the first supernova to be observed in 2012, Adam Block thought it might be for a topical image that the Schulman telescope could acquire. NGC 3239's distorted shape is most likely due to interactions with galaxies near to it (probably one or two to the lower left of it). Down and to the right of the foreground star with the diffraction pattern ("plus" shape) is a star embedded in the galaxy. Older pictures do not show this object. Please read Dr. Phil Plait's article on this image and event here:
This image was picked up by NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day. This site is visited by over one million people around the world each day! The SkyCenter is proud to produce images seen by that many people as it certainly helps to promote interest in science and astronomy.