SN Wilson, the farthest ever supernova recorded, was found almost two weeks ago by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.
This particular supernova exploded over 10 billion years ago, and opens a window into the early universe. Finding remote supernovae such as this provides a powerful method to measure the universe’s accelerating expansion, and SN Wilson pushes nearly 350 million more years farther back into time than previous supernovae.
“If supernovae were popcorn, the question is ‘how long before they start popping?’” Adam Riess of Space Telescope Science Institute asked. “You may have different theories about what is going on in the kernel. If you see when the first kernels popped and how often they popped, it tells you something important about the process of popping corn.”
“Figuring out the trigger for these explosions will also show how quickly the universe enriched itself with heavier elements such as iron, one of the raw materials for building planets and life.”