The Farthest Supernova Yet for Measuring Cosmic History
What if you had a â€œWayback Television Setâ€ and could watch an entire month of ancient prehistory unfold before your eyes in real time? David Rubin of the U.S. Department of Energyâ€™s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory presented just such a scenario to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting when he announced the discovery of a striking astronomical object: a Type Ia supernova with a redshift of 1.71 that dates back 10 billion years in time. Labeled SN SCP-0401, the supernova is exceptional for its detailed spectrum and precision color measurement, unprecedented in a supernova so distant.
â€œThis is the most distant supernova anyone has ever found for doing dependable cosmology,â€ said Rubin. â€œThe most important unanswered question we have about the nature of dark energy is whether it varies over time â€“ whether it affects the expansion of the universe differently in different eras. With SN SCP-0401, we have the first example of a well-measured supernova sufficiently far away to study the expansion history of the universe from almost 10 billion years ago.â€