Supernovae — some of the brightest phenomena in our universe — are vast explosions thought to mark the destruction of stars in the end stages of their evolution.
The history of supernova observations is long: the first recorded supernova was seen in China in 185 AD! Because supernovae are scarce (there are perhaps 1–3 per century in the Milky Way) and their brightest stages of are short-lived (lasting just a few months), only a handful of supernova were spotted by naked eye through the ages. The invention of the telescope, however, changed this: as technology improved, astronomers became able to observe bright supernovae in galaxies beyond the Milky Way.
Today, around 50,000 supernovae have been observed. The field has been vastly expanded by recent automated sky surveys that methodically hunt for transients. Nonetheless, intrepid individual astronomers still contribute to this scene — as evidenced by the recent discovery by Brazilian amateur astronomer Jorge Stockler de Moraes.