Astronomers Reveal Secrets of Most Distant Supernova Ever Detected

An international team of astronomers, including Penn's Masao Sako, an associate professor of physics and astronomy, has confirmed the discovery of the most distant supernova ever detected, a huge cosmic explosion that took place 10.5 billion years ago when the universe was only a quarter of its current age.

The exploding star, named DES16C2nm, was detected by the Dark Energy Survey, an international collaboration to map several hundred million galaxies in order to learn more about dark energy, the mysterious force believed to be causing the accelerated expansion of the universe.

As detailed in a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal, light from the event has taken 10.5 billion years to reach Earth, making it the oldest supernova ever discovered and studied. The universe itself is thought to be 13.8 billion years old.

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