Follow this Link to a NASA Web site on supernovas. It has a very nice animation and a description of what these objects are.
Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 6951:
NGC 6951 is a face-on Barred Spiral Galaxy of low surface brightness. It is classified as a Seyfert galaxy because of its bright star-like nucleus. Astronomers believe that Seyferts, and other galaxies with "active nuclei", harbor giant Black Holes at their center. As gas spirals into the Black Hole, it heats up and radiates as much energy as the rest of the galaxy. An image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope(HST) shows that NGC 6951 has a ring of new star formation surrounding the bright object in its center. This ring contains several bright knots that the HST shows to be giant star clusters. Other studies show that gas is flowing in toward the center through the bar structure, and this gas is being used in the star-forming ring. (see also M-77 for more on Seyfort Galaxies)
Dreyer's description from the New General Catalog(NGC): "Pretty bright, pretty large, little extended." Note that "NGC 6952" is non-existent, and was probably a re-observation of NGC 6951.
Based on the published red shift, a rough distance estimate for NGC 6951 and supernova 1999el is: 75,000,000 light years, with the galaxy being 85,000 light years in diameter.
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George Normandin, KAS
November 14th, 1999