Girl, 10, becomes youngest to discover supernova
Kathryn Aurora Gray spotted the new supernova on this image taken on New Year's Eve.
January 4th, 2011
11:04 AM ET

Girl, 10, becomes youngest to discover supernova

A 10-year-old Canadian girl will head back to school this month with a good case for some extra credit in science: She became the youngest person to discover a supernova during the holiday break.

Kathryn Aurora Gray of Fredericton, New Brunswick, spotted the exploding star, dubbed supernova 2010lt, on Monday from an image taken on New Year’s Eve by a telescope belonging to amateur astronomer David Lane in Stillwater Lake, Nova Scotia. The exploding star is in the galaxy UGC 3378 in the constellation of Camelopardalis.

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) says Kathryn is the youngest person ever to discover a supernova.

"I was very excited to find one. Especially this quick," Kathryn said of her discovery, according to a report in the Vancouver Sun.

Kathryn began her search for a supernova after she learned last year that a 14-year-old has discovered one of the exploding stars, her father, amateur astronomer Paul Gray, told the Toronto Star.

He shares credit for the find – his seventh – with Lane – his fourth, according to the RASC. The find was verified by amateur astronomers in Illinois and Arizona, the society said in a press release.

Supernovas are massive explosions that signal the death of stars many times the size of our sun, according to the RASC. Astronomers look for them by repeatedly scanning images of distant galaxies like UGC 3378, which is 240 million light years from Earth. That means the star explosion seen by the 10-year-old happened 240 million years ago.

Paul Gray told the Toronto Star his daughter found the supernova while checking the fourth of 52 images Lane had emailed to him.

“Kathryn pointed to the screen and said: ‘Is this one?’ I said yup, that looks pretty good,” Paul Gray told the Star.

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Filed under: Space
soundoff (391 Responses)
  1. mark king

    if the universe was created,i woinder if the master had more than one choice,cause i,m in one fine mess.if the universe is infinite does it represent all choices.i congradulate this little girl, maybe she has a built in blink comparater.

    January 6, 2011 at 2:31 am | Report abuse |
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  4. Sage

    wow just wow...

    January 6, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ArcAngel333

    This is like one thing that makes parents sooooo proud but if they help the kid it's like no way did that little girl find that it was her father. But, this little girl ends up saying that it is one and gets praised it isn't fair!!!!

    January 6, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Red vs. Blue

    I really don't think a 10 yr old girl could find a supernova on be inspired at such a young age...

    January 6, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
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    hmmm is this gallifrey home of the Time Lords!?

    January 7, 2011 at 3:02 am | Report abuse |
  8. Brad

    O.K he was the yuongest man to discover one and now she is the youngest girl and what's her middle name? Sorry i'm just a little skeptical.

    January 7, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
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    Are you just egging me on? Okay, I'll take the bait. Did you write this comment on a scroll or clay tablet and send it by camel to have someone type it in on a computer using TECHNOLOGY that was created by a SCIENTIST using SCIENCE? Do you go to bed when your candle burns out? You really make no sense. The depth of you ignorance and hypocrisy are truly astounding! Surely it would take a god to fathom your ignorance.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
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