James Webb Space Telescope’s First Supernova

While not its primary function, the James Webb Space Telescope might have just found its first supernova. Astronomers have observed a bright object within a galaxy called SDSS.J141930.11+5251593 dimming “just slightly twice (with a couple days between), over five days,” which is “classic supernova behavior.” The galaxy is three to four billion light years away, meaning the stellar explosion occurred three to four billion years ago. Every field of the telescope is “a deep field at this point, so there’s galaxies everywhere,” astronomer Mike Engesser of the Space Telescope Science Institute tells Kiona Smith at INVERSE. “And now we’re thinking, oh, we might have a really good chance of detecting supernovae all the time.” Find out more at INVERSE.

Image courtesy of Virtual Telescope Project/INVERSE