10-Year-Old Discovers Supernova, Wraps Up A+ in Any Future Science Class

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A supernova within the galaxy M100, that may contain the youngest known black hole in our cosmic neighborhood

REUTERS/Chandra X-ray Observatory Center/Handout

When NewsFeed was 10, we were discovering rocks in the backyard we hadn’t noticed before.

Kathryn Gray comes from a long line of supernova discoverers. Her father, Paul Gray, has made six previous supernova finds. Family friend and amateur astronomer David Lane has found three himself. So 10-year-old Kathryn knew what she was doing when she made her own discovery on Jan. 2 after she analyzed dozens of images of galaxies.

The telling image was taken by Lane on New Year’s Eve, and Kathryn, from New Brunswick, Canada, somehow spotted the exploding star, becoming the youngest person to ever discover one.

(Check out 3-D images scientists have created to better understand supernovas.)

It is dubbed Supernova 2010lt in the galaxy UGC 3378 (that’s 240 million light years away). And for a little astronomy lesson, a supernova is a star, far bigger than the Earth’s sun, that explodes, emitting a bright light. Hopefully Kathryn’s science teachers will let her take it easy when she goes back to school this semester.

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