I saw this NASA Webb Telescope tweet:

Supernova 2: Galactic Boogaloo

In 2016, @NASAHubble saw a supernova named Requiem in a distant galaxy. Now Webb has found a second supernova named Encore — marking the first time two gravitationally lensed supernovae have been found in the same galaxy: https://go.nasa.gov/3TvwIvH

Question: What's the official process for confirming then naming supernovae (e.g. Requiem and Encore)?

Is there a "yep, it's a supernova" confirming body, and a "yep, that supernova is now named..." body?

"bonus points" for an explanation of what a "Galactic Boogaloo" means exactly in this context.


1 Answer 1


These don't appear to be "offical" names (in the sense that "1P/Halley" is the official name of Halley's comet). There isn't a formal naming process.

The first supernova was noticed in a program called "REsolved QUIEscent Magnified Galaxies" (which looked at old Hubble images in the hope of locating distant faint galaxies that have been gravitationally lensed). And hence it was "nicknamed" Requiem. There is (as with 1P/Halley) a tradition of naming objects after their discoverer, even if it is unofficial.

The group that used JWST to investigate and image the second supernova were responsible for choosing the name:

A bright z = 1.95 supernova (SN) candidate was discovered in JWST/NIRCam imaging acquired on 2023 November 17. The source, which is quintuply-imaged as a result of strong gravitational lensing by a foreground cluster, was detected in two of the four locations and, remarkably, shares a host galaxy with a previous lensed SN. We therefore name this SN, “Encore” - (source)

There is a body for collecting reports of Supernovae and other transients. It's part of the Supernova Working Group at the IAU, and their web site is https://www.wis-tns.org/. I couldn't find Requiem or Encore listed there. Normal supernova names are more like "SN2022abc". The IAU don't classify supernovae themselves, but they do collect reports and observations of spectra that can classify supernovae.

Galactic Boogaloo - There was a film called "Breakin'" and its sequel was called "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo", seen as the archetype of oddly named sequels. It's on "TV Tropes"


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