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10-Year-Old Discovers a Supernova on New Year’s Eve!

Posted Jan 04 2011 12:00am
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I love stories about young people accomplishing feats normally reserved for adults.  From building the world’s most efficient electric car to discovering a supernova, there is nothing children can’t do!  

A supernova is an explosion of a massive star.  It can be 10 billion times brighter than our sun . Wikipedia explains:

Supernovae are extremely luminous and cause a burst of  radiation that often briefly outshines an entire  galaxy , before fading from view over several weeks or months. During this short interval a supernova can radiate as much energy as the  Sun is expected to emit over its entire life span.

Kathryn’s father taught her how to look for transient flashes on the computer. By comparing old images to one of New Year’s Eve, she found a supernova 40 million light-years away.  It has been named Supernova 2010lt , but personally,  I think it should be named after Kathryn.

Discovery News reports

Age is no barrier when it comes to supernova hunting, as 10-year-old Kathryn Gray has just proven.

The Canadian schoolgirl was scanning through astronomical images on Jan. 2 when she made the record-breaking find…

Kathryn showed an interest in astronomy last year and became fascinated with trying to find a supernova when she learned that the previous record was held by a 14-year-old.

What I love about stories like this is sharing them with my own children. It lets them know that anything is possible, no matter one’s age.  Kathryn is only a year older than my daughter.

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