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 (June 2023), we have the record of the Messier galaxies is held by M61 with probably 8 supernovae, followed by M100 with 7, and the long-term ex record holder M83 with 6 observed supernovae; this is two and three SNe less than for the absolute record held by NGC 6946, which has produced 10 observed supernovae.

As of the time of this writing (June 2023), the total number of supernovae discovered in Messier's galaxies has reached 74 (with one or two questionable, and including some Luminous Blue Variables/LBVs), plus one non-SN former candidate (1986D in M82). Supernovae have occurred in 29 of the 40 galaxies (72.5%). With the "surplus" galaxies M51B (NGC 5195) and M109B (NGC 3953), we would count 2 galaxies and 3 supernovae more.

Ranking: Remarkable supernova and supernova-like findings: Also note our Supernovae in Messier Galaxies page, which lists the supernovae by time of occurrance, and gives some more information on them, as well as links to descriptions of many of them.


Hartmut Frommert
Christine Kronberg

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Last Modification: June 11, 2023