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10-Year-Old Supernova Sleuth: 'I Didn't Want To Get My Hopes Too High'

In this 2006 handout provided by NASA, an artist interpretation illustrates the explosion of the brightest supernova ever recorded. i i

hide captionIn this 2006 handout provided by NASA, an artist interpretation illustrates the explosion of the brightest supernova ever recorded.

NASA/Getty Images
In this 2006 handout provided by NASA, an artist interpretation illustrates the explosion of the brightest supernova ever recorded.

In this 2006 handout provided by NASA, an artist interpretation illustrates the explosion of the brightest supernova ever recorded.

NASA/Getty Images

"For amateur astronomers, discovering a supernova is a significant and rare feat," Canada's The Star writes. "For a 10-year-old amateur to do it — well, that’s astronomical."

Still, that's just what Kathryn Aurora Gray of Fredericton, New Brunswick, did on New Year's Eve.

With some guidance from her dad and the help of some good computer software, she discovered an exploding star some 240 million light years away.

Finding supernovas runs in the Gray family, as The Province reports. Her dad, Paul Gray, discovered his first in 1995 — when he was 22, "making him the youngest person at that time to spot one." Now the person holding that title is his daughter.

Earlier today, Kathryn told All Things Considered host Melissa Block that when the computer started blinking (indicating that a supernova might have been discovered), she tried to stay calm:

Supernova sleuth

More from their conversation is due on today's ATC. Click here to find an NPR station that broadcasts or streams the show.

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