Fredericton, New Brunswick (UPI) Jan 4, 2011
A 10-year-old Canadian amateur astronomer has discovered a supernova, an event astronomers say is a rare and significant achievement.
Kathryn Aurora Gray of Fredericton, New Brunswick, noticed what was later confirmed to be a magnitude 17 supernova, or exploding star, on New Year's Eve, the Toronto Star reported.
The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada says Gray is the youngest person to ever make such a discovery, which has been reported to, confirmed and announced by the International Astronomical Union.
"I'm really excited. It feels really good," Kathryn told the Star.
Supernovas, cosmic explosions signaling the violent deaths of stars several times the mass of Earth's sun, are extremely bright and cause a burst of radiation.
Kathryn's father Paul helped her make the discovery by taking measures to rule out asteroids and checking the list of current known supernovas.
"It's fantastic that someone so young would be passionate about astronomy. What an incredible discovery. We're all very excited," said Deborah Thompson, executive director of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.
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