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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New York Teen Discovers Supernova

Caroline Moore, of Warwick, New York has made history as the youngest person to ever discover a supernova, at 14 years old. Moore's discovery was made by examining images taken in a Meade LX200 16-inch telescope (similar to the 'scope at right). Discovered on November 7th, 2008, this supernova is just now getting worldwide media coverage. In fact, I hadn't heard about it until I saw it on the news. I was surprised to see amateur telescopes on TV during an interview segment!

Known as Supernova 2008ha, this supernova is one of the weakest supernovae ever discovered. It was about 1000 times weaker than the typical supernova. Located in the galaxy UGC 12682, Supernova 2008ha is over 70 million light-years distant. It is theorized that this supernova is just a very weak Type Ia supernova, but there may be something more here. Maybe a new phenomenon? A star collapsing into a supernova? Only time will tell. One thing is for sure, though: This is an amazing discovery by Caroline Moore.

For more information, check out the scientific paper.

Clear skies!