Press Release

Subaru Discovers Many Distant Supernovae

May 29, 2003


Researchers from the University of Tokyo and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan discovered 18 distant supernovae using Subaru telescope's prime focus camera, Suprime-Cam. A single exposure alone showed 12 new supernovae. This is the first time so many supernovae have been discovered at the same time. Supernovae are the explosive ends of stars more than 8 times heavier than our Sun. They are rare events that only occur once in a hundred years even in a galaxy with hundreds of billions of stars. However, the explosions are also one of the most energetic events in the Universe, and can be seen from great distances. The newly discovered supernovae are 4 to 7 billion light years away, and their light was emitted when the universe was only half its current size. The discovery will allow follow up observations that can give a clear answer to whether or not the Universe is expanding at an increasing rate, and if so how much.

>> University of Tokyo (in Japanese)



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