Answer Man

Do you need a telescope to see a blinking supernova?

Q: Recently, you ran a story about a supernova that, instead of exploding once and then fading, seems to keep pulsating dim and bright over and over. Is it visible to the naked eye and where is it in the night sky?

S.W., of Belleville

A: Discovered in 2014, scientists thought iPTF14his (as it is officially known) was on it way out, but inexplicably it has grown faint and bright five times ever since. Even more remarkable, they found past evidence of an explosion at the same spot 60 years ago.

It’s in the constellation Ursa Major (the Great Bear), which boasts the seven bright stars of the familiar Big Dipper. But the International Astronomical Union says you need a telescope to see it. Find a map at

Today’s trivia

For the true couch potato: In 1996, what cable channel was replaced by MSNBC?

Answer to Sunday’s trivia: It apparently has become legend in some circles that the Brothers Alou — Felipe, Matty and Jesus — once all started a game in the San Francisco Giant outfield. But some legends are simply myths. While they did all play outfield together in three games in 1963, they never started a game together. On Sept. 10, however, Manager Al Dark did have them bat consecutively before Felipe was traded to Atlanta the following year.

Roger Schlueter: 618-239-2465, @RogerAnswer