back to article Junior astronomer spots junior supernova

A 14-year-old student from New York state has become the youngest person in history to discover a supernova. And her find is also one of the most peculiar supernovae spotted to date. For a massive stellar explosion, this one appears to be a dud. Using a relatively small telescope, Caroline Moore spied the faint object located …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    Where's the critical data?

    "...Using a relatively small telescope, Caroline Moore ..."

    Astronomy buffs reading your piece will be completely uninterested in Miss (presumably) Moore's age. What they will want to know is, 'How big was her telescope?'.

    Really, that information is most important. Someone of any age can pick up a new dot on a big system - it takes skill to do it on a smaller one.....

  2. Mike007

    how do you report these things?

    999: Which emergency service do you require?

    14 year old: the supernova task force

    999: one second

    supernova task force: what is the nature of your nova emergency?

    14 year old: i have spotted a nova at <coordinates>, confirmed by my dad

    supernova task force: thank you for your report, we will pass this on to astronomers worldwide to observe and take readings

  3. Werner McGoole

    Re: how do you report these things?

    I believe the International Astronomical Union (IAU) normally handles this sort of thing.

  4. mrweekender

    Shouldn't she... on the park with the other hoodies drinking cider and causing mayhem? I don't know the educated youth of today!

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Vogons did it...

    Perhaps it was simply demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass...

  6. John Robson Silver badge


    And pretty cool - I mean, I'm still at the "look, isn't it pretty" stage - to notice a new dot takes some serious interest and work, never mind how old (or young) the astronomer in question.

  7. Graham Marsden

    So what is it...?

    It's not a Nova. It's not a SuperNova.

    Perhaps it's a "NotVerySuperNova"?

  8. Camilla Smythe

    Go Caroline!!!

    "Astronomers hope the newest generation of telescopes and instruments will spot much more of this type of event in the next few years."

    Yeah sure... like when you point your giant penis extensions in the right direction.

    SN 2008ha? No... actually it is spelt Caroline.

  9. Christoph

    @ Mike007

    Details here

  10. Camilla Smythe


    SN 2008ha: An Extremely Low Luminosity and Extremely Low Energy Supernova

    Authors: Ryan J. Foley, Ryan Chornock, Alexei V. Filippenko, Mohan Ganeshalingam, Robert P. Kirshner, Weidong Li, S. Bradley Cenko, Pete Challis, Andrew S. Friedman, Maryam Modjaz, Jeffrey M. Silverman, W. Michael Wood-Vasey

    I'll miss out the boring stuff... Disinterested people might wish to scroll to the end...

    Paper Content.

    Here is some more boring stuff....



    And..... being IT literate..... F3, on the full PDF paper, finds no instance of Caroline.


  11. Anonymous Coward

    ccd images from a 40cm scope

    SUPERNOVA 2008ha IN UGC 12682

    T. Puckett, Ellijay, GA, U.S.A.; Caroline Moore, Warwick, NY, U.S.A.; and Jack

    Newton, Portal, AZ, U.S.A., report the discovery of an apparent supernova

    (mag 18.8) on unfiltered CCD images (limiting mag 19.4) taken with a 0.40-m

    reflector at Portal on Nov. 7.17 UT in the course of the Puckett Observatory

    Supernova Search.

  12. A B 3


    are doing it for themselves.

    The glittering gold retro 80s one please.

  13. elderlybloke

    Well Done that Girl

    or should I say -young person .

    She obviously has a great knowledge of the sky to pick out a new star appearing in her telescope.

    Why don't we get told the size and type? I expect that is not important to the author of the article.

    She may have a bright future in Astronomy if she decides on that a a career.

  14. LuMan

    Run for it!!

    By the looks of things stars and planets are exploding with an alarming regularity. Simple mathematics dictate that it's only a matter of time before it's us next.

    Either that or we get gatecrashed by Mars....

  15. frank ly


    I hope that from now on, this type of object/process will be called a Caroline Nova, or maybe a Carolinian Nova. (There is already a very well known Moore in astronomy so that name shouldn't be used.)

  16. David Adams

    Re: how do you report these things?

    It's easy,

    Have you never seen Deep Impact?

  17. Robert Brandon


    Too bad none of our telescopes have video cameras. It would be so cool to see what this looks like

  18. Darryl

    "SN 2008ha"

    Couldn't they name the thing after Ms. Moore or something?

  19. James Hughes 1

    Size is the most important thing....

    Dodgy Geezer's right - how big was her instrument?

  20. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    Novelty (Super) Nova?

    couldn't resist, sorry

    Mine's the one with the Celestron C8 guider in the pocket

  21. Graham Bartlett

    I don't know...

    All those reports, I though it was simply impossible to get kids interested in science and engineering. Especially girls. That's why all those special awards for women involved in science and engineering had to be set up, because clearly the only way to get them involved is to have a "Britain's got female engineering talent" back-slapping contest.

    Oh wait - actually, if they're interested in it, then they *will* do it. And be pretty damn good at it too.

  22. Adam Foxton


    How about the Chevrolet Nova- to Quote Phillip J Fry of Futurama fame: "I've never seen a supernova blow up before, but if it's anything like my old Chevy Nova it'll light up the night sky!".

  23. CDG


    I did a PhD in classical novae and can tell you its not that unusual for amateurs to spot novae or novae like objects. You dont need a big telescope to do it (in fact it is 'easier' without - you want sky coverage not the ability to spot faint objects) as the objects are usually visible with the naked eye. What you need is coverage of the night sky and the knowledge of the normal star patterns to be able to spot new objects.

    There used to be a vicar in the UK who used to spot quite a few novae. He had an incredible knowledge of the night sky and a pair of binoculars.

    Boring, but true

  24. Annihilator

    Skinner furious

    Six hours, nineteen minutes, right ascension, fourteen degrees, fifty-eight minutes declination! sighting. Did you get that one Bart?

  25. jeffrey 1


    So this explosion is more like the backfire from a vauxhall nova , than the massive release of energy from a super nove?

    Fair play to the kid though, if she has discovered a new tyoe fo explosion IAU should give her naming rights.

  26. Anonymous Coward


    How about mininova.

  27. Richard 100

    Disaster Area ... ??

    Looks like the Great Disaster Area comeback tour has finally hit the road!!

  28. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    You are all wrong

    That was the nearest intelligent life to earth starting their LHC at full power

  29. John Gamble

    "...finds no instance of Caroline."

    Hard to tell if you're being dim on purpose, so I'll treat this as a legit comment. The paper referenced is not the paper outlining her discovery, it is a paper on the make-up of the supernova itself (although, El Reg, it would have been nice to have a pointer to Moore's notification).

    And she is referenced as the co-author of the discovery notification in the references section, as she should be, as "Moore, C.".

    In other words, she's being treated as a real member of the community. Which she is.

  30. Camilla Smythe

    I must apologise for my oversight

    Due to being thick and looking for Caroline.

    And take the opportunity to moan that her name is not more prominant.

  31. David 45

    Gets the prize

    Well done, that lass. They all look alike to me! Gotta be very knowledgeable to have come up with THAT discovery.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022