(Submitted October 11, 2007)
Can a supernova be seen with the naked eye? What are the odds of seeing a
supernova with the naked eye?
Several supernovae throughout history have been seen with the naked eye.
However no naked eye supernovae have been seen since 1987 (and then only
in the southern hemisphere, and the last one before that was about 400 years
ago). You can see the most recent listing at:
Under the darkest conditions we can't really see anything dimmer than about
magnitude 6.5 with the naked eye, but here are details of some of the
brighter (< Mag 17) ones that you may be able to see with a telescope:
Hope this helps,
Mike and Georgia
For "Ask an Astrophysicist"