Kathryn Gray is a 10-year-old amateur astronomer. Given that most kids her age would rather text or play video games than gaze silently at the heavens, that information alone should be enough to make you impressed, but couple that with the fact that she just became the youngest person ever to discover a supernova, and you’re looking at a bona fide star.
The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada announced Monday that Kathryn, who was supervised by her father and a family friend, “spotted a magnitude 17 supernova in galaxy UGC 3378 in the constellation Camelopardalis, about 240 million light years away,” according to The Vancouver Sun. Kathryn doesn’t seem to be letting her super discovery get to her head. She told reporters, “It’s just a blowing-up of stars so eventually it will fade away. I was very excited to find one. Especially this quick.” According to the Sun, Kathryn spotted the supernova 15 minutes into looking at her first images.
TIME magazine describes a supernova as “a star, far bigger than the Earth’s sun, that explodes, emitting a bright light.” In a related article, they offer a better taste of the effects of a supernova’s blast, calling it “so brilliant that it can briefly outshine an entire galaxy, give birth to ultra-dense neutron stars or black holes, and forge atoms so heavy that even the Big Bang wasn’t powerful enough to create them.” In the wake of her scientific discovery, I think it’s safe to assume Kathryn Gray’s future will be equally bright.