|Supernova 2010lt discovered in galaxy UGC 3378||l|
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Circular from International Astronomical Union (2011 January 3)
SUPERNOVA 2010lt IN UGC 3378
before /after photos
RASC Official Press Release
Ten-year-old New Brunswick Girl Discovers Exploding Star
Toronto, Canada (January 3, 2011) – The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) is pleased to announce the discovery of a supernova by a ten-year-old amateur astronomer—the youngest person ever to have made such a discovery.
Ten-year-old Kathryn Aurora Gray of Fredericton, New Brunswick under the watch of astronomers, Paul Gray and David Lane, are pleased to report the discovery of a magnitude 17 supernova in galaxy UGC 3378 in the constellation of Camelopardalis, as reported on IAU Electronic Telegram 2618. The galaxy was imaged on New Year's Eve 2010, and the supernova was discovered on January 2, 2011 by Kathryn Aurora Gray and Paul Gray.
Supernovas are stellar explosions that signal the violent deaths of stars several times more massive than our sun. Supernovas are interesting to astronomers because they manufacture most of the chemical elements that went into making the earth and other planets, and also because distant supernovas can be used to estimate the size and age of our universe.
Supernovas are rare events. The last one in our galaxy occurred several hundred years ago, before the invention of the telescope. The odds of discovery can be increased by repeatedly checking many other galaxies. A new supernova reveals itself as a bright point of light that wasn't there the last time the galaxy was checked. Since a supernova can outshine millions of ordinary stars it is easy to spot with a modest telescope, even in a distant galaxy like UGC 3378 which is about 240 million light-years away.
The discovery was soon verified by Illinois-based amateur astronomer Brian Tieman and Arizona-based Canadian amateur astronomer Jack Newton. It was then reported to the International Astronomical Union's Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams. This is Mr. Lane’s fourth supernova discovery, Mr. Gray's seventh, and Kathryn's first!
Details abut the discovery, and the observatory from which it was made, can be found here: http://www.davelane.ca/aro/sn/sn2010lt.html
Founded in 1868, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada is Canada's leading astronomy organization bringing together 4,000+ enthusiastic amateurs, educators and professionals. RASC and its 29 Centres across Canada offer both national and local programming and services. The RASC’s vision is to inspire curiosity in all Canadians about the universe, to share scientific knowledge, and to foster collaboration in astronomical pursuits.
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