Superbright Star Explosion Is Most Distant Known

Superbright Star Explosion Is Most Distant Known

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A newly spotted ultra-bright star explosion burst onto the scene just 1.5 billion years after the big bang, making it the earliest known supernova. The event is one of two supernovae recently found in the distant universe. The other occurred a mere 3 billion years after the birth of the cosmos. Both explosions are so-called superluminous supernovae, a type of stellar burst that outshines other supernovae by a factor of 10 to 100.

The hope is that, with their extreme brightness, superluminous supernovae could let astronomers witness the deaths of the very first generation of stars, which began seeding the universe with the heavier elements needed to build more stars, galaxies, planets and eventually life.

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