Supernova Discovered By 10-Year-Old!!

 

Age is no barrier when it comes to supernova hunting, as 10-year-old Kathryn Gray has just proven.

The Canadian schoolgirl was scanning through astronomical images on Jan. 2 when she made the record-breaking find. According to the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Kathryn is the youngest ever discoverer of a supernova!

The supernova was spotted erupting to life in the constellation of Camelopardalis in a galaxy called UGC 3378, some 240 million light-years distant. Shining at a brightness of magnitude 17, the flash was imaged on New Year’s Eve. Magnitude 17 is the approximate brightness of the dwarf planet Haumea (in the Kuiper Belt) as seen from Earth.

Helped by her amateur astronomer father Paul Gray, Kathryn was taught how to look out for these transient flashes using a computer program that compares new and old images of the same portion of the night sky. Blinking between the new and old images, anything like the motion of planets, asteroids or supernovae can be spotted.

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