Record-breaking supernova

By Ron Cowen, 15:57 PM April 15, 2008

Astronomers have discovered the most luminous supernova ever recorded. At its peak, the stellar explosion, which erupted in a galaxy 4.7 billion light-years from Earth, was 100 billion times as bright as the sun.

Robert Quimby was hunting for supernovas with a tiny telescope, the 18-inch ROTSE-IIIb at McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis, Texas, when he spotted the explosion. Follow-up observations with the same observatory's 10-meter Hobberly-Eberly Telescope hinted that light emitted by dou...

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