Supernova bursts with opportunity for astronomers
By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY
A supernova has astronomers around the globe racing to their telescopes.
The advent of the exploding star was heralded by a burst of gamma-ray radiation, detected Feb. 18 by NASA's Swift satellite. Three days later, scientists matched the burst to the birth of a supernova. (Related item: This week in space gallery)
The gamma ray burst was the second closest to Earth ever detected, scientists say. The supernova is 440 million light-years away in the direction of the constellation Aries.
"Certainly this is one of the most exciting ones, a very unique opportunity," says Swift scientist Frank Marshall of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "Hopefully, we are going to learn a lot about supernovas."