10 year old Kathryn Gray discovered a supernova near Camelopardalis.
Kathryn is the youngest person ever to have discovered a stellar explosion, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada says. Her find was confirmed by Arizona-based Canadian amateur astronomer Jack Newton, who holds the record for the discovery of the most supernovas by an amateur in 2010, and Illinois-based amateur astronomer Brian Tieman.
The stars that become supernovas are faint celestial glimmers that are undetectable before they blow up. The explosions occur when the stars run out of hydrogen and other fuels and then collapse into themselves under their own gravity with a big bang. As they blow up, they become many times brighter, visible on images taken from far away.
The discovery came from images taken on Dec. 31. The most effective method for amateur astronomers to identify a supernova is to look at before-and-after images; it is not unusual for amateurs to go through tens of thousands of images before finding one. The discovery, confirmed by other amateur astronomers who have their own images of the stars before and after the explosion, has been reported to the International Astronomical Union’s Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams.