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. Bulloch

    I found a supernova when I was 9, so $uck it, Canada!

    January 4, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. WhoCares

    I discovered a raindrop during a torrential downpour! Can I have an article written about me too? It's comparable to this.

    January 4, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Gunslinger

    "Is this one ?" doesn't equate to discovery. If she said.."hey, Dad, I found a new Supernova by comparing these images....", I'd be much more impressed. For God's sake, a 2 year old can point to a dot and say "Is this one ?"

    January 4, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      That doesn't make nearly as snazzy a headline, though.

      January 4, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • starlight_22

      Except that they don't have the equipment necessary to prove that it was a supernova. What she was doing was research to find candidates for supernova. They reported to another facility that then verifies and she was lucky enough to have actually found on early on in the process. It made news because she is now the youngest and not many 10 year old children are doing scientific research.

      January 4, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Anon

    Not surprising a Canadian kid discovered this. Fat@ss American kids were too busy playing their video games and hanging out at the mall waiting for the next fad to come along.

    January 4, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • roddyvan

      Sooo true....

      January 4, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. popgirl23

    What a bunch of party poops. Let the kid have her day. If this inspires another kid to put away the Xbox and pay attention in school than who cares if this isn't deemed newsworthy enough by you Einsteins.

    January 4, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. popgirl23

    What a bunch of party p–ps. Let the kid have her day. If this inspires another kid to put away the Xbox and pay attention in school than who cares if this isn't deemed newsworthy enough by you Einsteins.

    January 4, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rauf

    I'm an astronomy lover and I'm really glad to know that kids of the news generation are very talented and gifted. Keep exploring our mysterious universe. It's really fun doing this and of course, it's got a lot to be learnt

    January 4, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. GrantK

    Funny and appropriate that the two Canadian newspapers quoted are the Sun and the Star !

    January 4, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. whocares!?!?

    It doesnt even matter how long or when everything came togethor and man was made. it was many years ago and to argue about it is retarded. Man well never be able to know when the first came here but well all know when its time for us to all die.

    January 4, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Richard Allen

    not bad, kid.

    January 4, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. TheBossIsOut

    A star is dead! But not Lindsay Lohen. CNN will make sure she stays alive in the headlines.

    January 4, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Syntax Pls

    "She became the youngest person to discover a supernova during the holiday break."

    What was the age of the youngest person to discovery a supernova other than during that holiday break?

    January 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sagefarmer

      Uh, I already said that.

      January 4, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    A 10yr old can find a star that exploded 250 million years ago and we still can't find Jimmy Hoffa. Go figure! lol

    January 4, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Semper Fi

    When you Disconnect from the social network can really find very cool things that really matter. Outstanding!

    January 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adrien

      I fail to see how this "really matters" as it will disappear and be forgotten about. Now if she learned how to bake a pie or make daddy a sandwich in the kitchen (where she belongs), that is a well learned lesson that "really matters"!

      January 4, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dave

    I thought I saw something odd in the sky...yet I attributed it to the Clear Sky. I have no maps to compare with; Great Job Kid.

    January 4, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
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