Supernovae which have been observed in Messier catalog galaxies

While exactly one Messier object (the Crab Nebula M1) is the remnant of a supernova explosion, and one of few observed in our own galaxy, the Milky Way, in pre-telescopic times, supernovae have occurred and been observed in more than half of the 40 galaxies in the modern Messier catalog. At the time of this writing (January 2014), we have two holders of the record of the Messier galaxies, M61 and M83: These two galaxies have produced probably 6 observed supernovae; this is three SNe less than for the absolute record held by NGC 6946, which has produced 9 observed supernovae.

As of the time of this writing (January 2014), the total number of supernovae discovered in Messier's galaxies has reached 59 (with one to two questionable), plus one non-SN former candidate (1986D in M82). Supernovae have occurred in 26 of the 40 galaxies (65%). With the "surplus" galaxies M51B (NGC 5195) and M109B (NGC 3953), we would count 2 galaxies and 3 supernovae more.

Ranking: Also note our Supernovae in Messier Galaxies page, which lists the supernovae by time of occurrance, and gives some more information on them.


Hartmut Frommert
Christine Kronberg

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Last Modification: January 31, 2014