Courtesy of UC Berkeley
These three images show the supernova as it was exploding. The image on the left points to the supernova just before it self-destructed. In the middle, the supernova is 10,000 time fainter than the human eye can detect. The image on the right shows it 6 times brighter than it was the previous day.
Astronomers at UCSD helped to locate a supernova just as it was exploding using a telescope at the Palomar Observatory.
Astronomers from around California shared the groundbreaking data using UC San Diego’s High-Performance Wireless and Research Education Network (HPWREN), which allowed them to digitally send their observations across hundreds of miles.
UC Berkeley astronomer Joshua Bloom called the bright, self-destructing star “the supernova of a generation.” He added in a statement that this discovery will be a target for research for the next decade.
The discovery was made at the Palomar Observatory in San Diego. The data was sent to supercomputers at a laboratory in Berkeley.
Researchers credit the collaboration of California scientists for the discovery.
“It shows how effective scientific discovery can be when researchers combine their expertise,” said Hans-Werner Braun, HPWREN’s director in a statement.
The astronomers were delighted to have caught the supernova so soon after exploding, and are now watching it become even brighter.
“Observing [the supernova] unfold should be a wild ride. It is an instant cosmic classic,” said the Berkeley scientist who first spotted the supernova, Peter Nugent, in a statement.