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Supernova discoveries are reported to the International Astronomical Union's Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams, which sends out a circular with the name it assigns to it. The name is the year of discovery, immediately followed by a one or two-letter designation. The first 26 supernovae of the year are designated with a capital letter from A to Z. Afterward pairs of lower-case letters are used: aa, ab, and so on. Since 2000, professional and amateur astronomers find several hundreds of supernovae each year (572 in 2007, 261 in 2008, 390 in 2009). For example, the last supernova of 2005 was SN 2005nc, indicating that it was the 367th[nb 1] supernova found in 2005. Historical supernovae are known simply by the year they occurred: SN 185, SN 1006, SN 1054, SN 1572 (Tycho's Nova) and SN 1604 (Kepler's Star). Since 1885 the letter notation has been used, even if there was only one supernova discovered that year (e.g. SN 1885A, 1907A, etc.)—this last happened with SN 1947A. "SN", for SuperNova, is a standard prefix. Until 1987, two-letter designations were rarely needed; since 1988, however, they have been needed every year.
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