Tuesday, June 16, 2009

14 Year Old Discovers Supernova

14-Year-Old Discovers Rare Supernova in Nearby Galaxy

While some 14-year-olds are scouring their mall to find the latest fashions, Caroline Moore discovered a supernova in a nearby galaxy.

Astronomers say Moore is the youngest person to ever discover a supernova — and in her case, an extremely rare one, ScienceDaily.com reports.

The supernova, that scientists have coined SN 2008ha, is a new type of stellar explosion that may be the weakest of its kind ever seen.

SN 2008ha is 70 million light years away, appearing very faint from Earth — but is still 25 million times brighter than the sun.

Caroline was able to discover the object using a small telescope, but astronomers used some of the most advanced telescopes to determine the nature of the explosion.

Alex Filippenko, leader of the University of California, Berkeley supernova group, which monitors thousands of relatively nearby galaxies, says SN2008ha could have been a massive star suddenly collapsing to form a black hole.

"Coincidentally, the youngest person to ever discover a supernova found one of the most peculiar and interesting supernovae ever," remarked Filippenko. "This shows that no matter what your age, anyone can make a significant contribution to our understanding of the universe."

First I would like to commend this young lady, this is an incredible accomplishment.

Next I would like to ask, why is that my just-turned 15 year old son can't even find his own clothes for school?


Flavor Country said...

Yeah I will be asking my Son tommorow on his birthday (age 11) why he hasn't graduated from college like this other kid here.

Our kids are just not applying themselves. :)

Chuck said...

Flavor, what can you do?

Birthday wishes to your son.

sue said...

Kids like that amaze me.

Gramma 2 Many said...

Because they are all in a heap on his floor or under his bed.

Z said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Flavor Country, Jr.!

Great line about your son's clothes, Chuck.
Discovering a super nova would have been what my Mom would have called it if I'd actually found any article clothing I was looking for in MY room. I wasn't neat for a girl. Am now!

DaBlade said...

HAHA! I actually heard the rimshot after the clothes comment. A small telescope in the hands of my boys... there is no telling what they would discover. I'm sure it would lead to a knock on my door at some point.

Flavor Country said...

Thanks Z & Chuck!

LUCKY said...

The one question that kept repeating in my head other than wow that would be really cool to discover something like that was, why did they name in SN 2008h?

I thought when you discovered something in outerspace that you got to name it.

I wonder what this young lady would have named it?

And my wife asks the same question of me that you ask of your son. I lose track of my wallet or truck keys on a weekly basis and then find them in the strangest places. Like my truck keys this morning were all the way under the couch near the wall.

LUCKY said...

I think that its pretty neat that she was looking through a telescope rather than texting her friends

shoprat said...

Much of astronomy is having the telescope pointed at the right spot in the sky ant the right time. It's called luck, but if she wasn't looking in the first place she would have never had the luck. Had she been playing on the internet she would have never seen it.

cube said...

I heard about this. What a wonderful achievement for anyone much less such a young girl. She's off to a great start.

Chuck said...

Sue, it is cool

Gramma, you are alomst certainly right

Z, we would be proud if he found his clothes too. Actually his real mess is in his locker at school. We were looking for one of my jackets in the winter and he insisted he did not have it. He found it when he cleaned his school locker out at the end of the year.

DaBlade, agreed, that's why they only let young girls do it.

Lucky, it's a designation based on where in the sky it appears, year, and, the order in which it was discovered durig the year (I think). I think she may get to name it eventually.
You are right about mthe texting.

Shoprat, actually a lot of it is patience (and a lot of it). It is impressive that she was willing to put this work into it.

Cube, she's accomplished more than some in a lifetime.

mksviews said...

Damn, good on her.

"Next I would like to ask, why is that my just-turned 15 year old son can't even find his own clothes for school?"


Tim McGaha said...

Astronomy is one of the few disciplines where discoveries are often made not by paid professionals, but by part-timers and amateurs. It's partly the luck of having your 'scope pointed the right way at the right time, and partly the knowledge of what it is your're seeing. Still, this is pretty amazing.