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.

Post by:
Filed under: Space
soundoff (391 Responses)
  1. Adrien

    Pagan Goddess Priest:
    Uh...no we won't.

    January 4, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Shilova

    From the article:
    "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."
    I wonder how many time she asked 'Is this one?'

    January 4, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • chris

      ....after about 5,000 he probably said "yes, that's one" to shut her up :)

      January 4, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. foofoo

    I know I'm goning sound dumb and get made fun of but can some one explain the "happened 240 million years ago". I love science but never got into the Stars or space stuff.

    January 4, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • chris

      because of the speed of light and the distance between that star and earth, it took 240 million years for that light to reach the earth, hence the term "light-years"

      January 4, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • diz

      The article read that the star was 240 million light years away. 1 light year = distance light travels in 1 year. Therefore it took the light 240 million years to travel from that star to earth.

      January 4, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • someone

      or to make itt a bit easier to understand light can only travel so fast so the explosion was so far away from earth 240 million years after the explosion the light finaly reached us

      January 4, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • mcsands

      Because the galaxy in which the supernova occurred is 240 million light years away. A "light year" is the distance light travels in a year (roughly six trillion miles). Light travels at roughly 186,000 miles per second. Therefore, it took the light from the supernova 240 million years to travel through space and reach our eyes. So, the explosion we just witnessed in the photo actually happened 240 million years ago. Even the light from our sun takes more than eight minutes to travel to our eyes.

      January 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • EE

      Dumb questions exist, but this is not one of them. Way to speak up and have the eagerness to learn.

      January 4, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. David

    I feel sorry for the stars next of kin

    January 4, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Smartypanz

    My friend called out to his mom when he was 10 yrs.: "Look Mom! I found a
    'double fly!!!" Mom just smirked.

    January 4, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Only sheep need a shepherd

    How about her father pointing the telescope at something relevant. A giant mirror in the sky for example. Who gives a sh!t about an exploding star from 340 miliion years ago. Alright hunny, even though I found it we'll say you did that way we both get our name on a BS news website like CNN. Yea daddy, a dot of light, in a sky filled with billions of them.

    January 4, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Just a Gut feeling

    Also in the news today, intergalactic terrorist exploded a star in Galaxy.......

    January 4, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • chris

      that would just be awesome if terrorists claimed responsibility
      "And we will explode more of your Gods stars until there are none left in the sky!"

      January 4, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. dave

    I'm glad she found it....but I'm the person that lost it, I hope she returns it to me.

    January 4, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. cavemanstyle

    You know, humans are out of sync. Look around, we are the only ones that can speak and we don't look or resemble any other animal. We were PUT here.. and the dinosaurs may have been destroyed to make way for our species. Can't prove that, but the current theory is at best, a working hypothesis. We can't be THAT ignorant of a race to think we're the only ones.. com'on man.. wake up.

    January 4, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Only sheep need a shepherd

      Except you know, chimpanzees, we only share 98% of our DNA with them.

      January 4, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Alasia

    thats amazing

    January 4, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Thisisnothingnew

    So she was connecting the dots in the sky one night and figure that there's an 'extra' dot in the sky and thought it was cute.

    January 4, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. pete

    Terrible band!

    January 4, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. TRAVIS

    this is like a parent winning a coloring contest for their 5th grader

    January 4, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. D

    Clearly the dad set it up. Thats what parents do. "My child is a genius", etc..

    January 4, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Reality

    life is just a fantasy, can you live this fantasy life? (Supernova one hit wonder)

    January 4, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Crash2Parties

      It's 'Alto Novo'. 'Supernova' was by Liz Phair.

      We're looking for intelligent life out there because we've exhausted the search here...

      January 4, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.