Newly announced in this news story from the Beeb is the discovery by astronomers at the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii that light from an supernova first seen in November, 1572, which kick-started the work of astronomical science in the Renaissance, has been observed again, indirectly: this time in faint light reflected from a distant dust cloud. The story is covered in greater detail on Astronomy.com (see if you can spot the typo in the story, though), by another (apparently only in German for now, sorry) on the news page of the Max Planck Institute, and by Subaru team themselves.
The supernova of 1572, the violent death of a star which was bright enough to be visible during the day and outshone even Venus (bear that in mind, with the current Venus - Jupiter conjunction in the southwestern sky), stunned Elizabethan England, and a Europe embroiled in religious and political turmoil. More importantly, it put a decisive nail in the coffin of the Aristotelian view of the heavens as immutable, to which idea most authorities still subscribed at this time (this despite previous supernovae, notably in 1006 and 1054, never mind the regular visits from comets, including Halley's Comet, which is recorded in the Bayeux Tapestry commemorating the Battle of Hastings in 1066). Suddenly Aristotle, and his view of the universe, to which the Church and secular authority had long pinned their colours, wasn't looking so clever.
What happened as a result was that there was a revolution in astronomy, and in our ways of looking at the universe. Nicolae Copernicus, Tycho Brahe ( Tycho Brahe Homepage | Wiki ), Johannes Kepler ( NASA Kepler Mission site | Wiki ), and Galileo Galilei ( the Galileo Project | Wiki )were all directly affected by the supernova, and it gave rise to new and powerful questions in their formidable minds. The famously metal-nosed Brahe (he lost the tip in a duel) wrote the Stella Nova to detail his observations of the "new star". And though he was mistaken in his attempt to support a geocentric (earth at the centre of everything) view of the universe, made observations so detailed and accurate that Kepler was able to use them to support the Copernican model of a heliocentric solar system. And eventually, even the Church which at one point threatened Galileo by showing him the instruments of torture - the threat was implicit and concrete - would have to apologise to him, albeit posthumously (it only took four hundred years), on the strength of the astronomical evidence built on the foundation of the 1572 supernova.
It's at moments like this, when some piece of history echoes back to you again, that it becomes evident not only how much we owe those first real scientists of four centuries gone, but also what we owe the current generation, which continues to make such incredible, breath-taking discoveries.