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back to article 10-year-old girl becomes youngest ever supernova discoverer

A 10-year-old Canadian girl has been crowned "the youngest person to discover a supernova" after spying the exploding star on amateur observatory images. Kathryn Aurora Gray spotted the magnitude 17 supernova on Sunday in an image of galaxy UGC 3378 in the constellation of Camelopardalis. The photo had been forwarded to her …

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Envy, much?

Yeah, a young girl's sharp eye and interest in a field she's likely to have access to more information about than most children must be a sign of some kind of disorder.

Well done to her, and to her father for introducing her to something he loves.

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Bah!

What a depressingly predictable response.

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@Geoff Mackenzie: This is precisely how you should interest kids in science!

This is precisely how you should interest kids in science.

By the time a kid enters high school his/her interest in science should be more than a just a fad. A truly obsessive interest is best fostered from when very young--as early as 4 or 5.

Science could do well to learn from the old church adage 'give me a child until seven and I've got him/her for life'.

50+ years ago, we in the English-speaking West instinctively understood this in education, but with the advent of postmodernism mumbo-jumbo--the anti-science--the notion was lost to schools.

Asia never caught this pernicious postmodernism disease, now they make everything hi-tech from our colour televisions and computers to nuclear weapons.

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Grenade

@Stevie: Presumably this inane remark is only to buy an argument?

Presumably this inane remark is only to buy an argument?

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Bah!

Nope, no argument. It was the first comment on the first El Reg story I read this year is all.

A great story with no obvious downside, and the first comment was by a total git. I felt moved to express my sadness about that state of affairs. Looking through the comments, I wasn't the only one.

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That's actually...

... Pretty damn cool.

Well done her! I'd love to discover a supernova.

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hmm

Autistic?

Or pushy parent?

"amateur astronomer father Paul"

And giving her a middle name of Aurora.

Kids are always interested in what their parents do. Though I couldn't see me giving my son a middle name of Raid or Skuzzie, I deem it a little off.

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Taking After Parents

My daughter's middle name is Aurora too, she frequently uses it in place of her surname 'Manley' which is a little too masculine for a 6 year old. My son's name is also Orion.

And yes, kids always want to emulate their parents, so I have a pair of kids that love astronomy, Star Wars, play Eve Online instead of Bakugan, and they'll pick up a hammer, saw, or screwdriver to help me around the house.

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You've got smart kids...

...who are lucky 'cos they've got a smart Dad.

If only some of our feral hoodies had Dads with even a fraction of your obvious care & interest, they wouldn't inevitably drift into the underclass.

(Awaits flaming from Sociology graduates)

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downvote

Although I agree with what you've written, I'm giving you a downvote for naming your daughter Manley. Kinda like naming a boy "Sue". :)

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Re: downvote - As if he had a choice...

... as far as I know it would have been difficult to give his daughter a different *surname* than Manley. You know, like, his own surname...

Guess who gets a downvote now :)

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FAIL

I knew it...

..a downvote. Must be a right-on Sociology Grad or a deadbeat Dad with no interest in his offspring/spawn (delete according to point of view)

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Headmaster

Please dexcite

This is not a prelude to contact.

It's about spotting changes in photographs.

As usual, some life-bearing worlds in a galaxy far, far away will have Really Bad Days.

Here's hoping it won't happen here.

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will have?

A pedantic 'had', if you're referring to that specific nova relative to our point of view in time, but yes it may well be a possibility that elsewhere sometime now some fledgling civilisation is being wiped out, just as it has just perhaps discovered, sadly and just much too late, how to FTL.

Our sun is not massive enough to nova as I understand it but one can never tell who or what will brush by us aeons from now.

We have some time yet to develop some means of getting off this rock, before our sun dies. But of course something else could yet still wipe us out. Vogons etc... Surely _WE_ wouldn't wipe ourselves out out of sheer stupidity now, would we? <grin>

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Alien

Middle name or not

She has Aurora and Gray in her name.. Aliens and secret spy craft??? odd but I like it!

My 2nd daughter has a middle name, Charlotte from the home of NASCAR...

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Unhappy

Meanwhile....

Meanwhile here in Blighty cloud stopped the observation of the partial solar eclipse.

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How cool is that...

I do believe that she will be able to name it aswell!

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Unhappy

Too cool for names

Just what this universe needs, a supernova named Justin Bieber. Stop, my head is going supernova ...

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Pint

Naming?

Not sure about that. A supernova is fairly transient: it'll leave a nebula remnant, I presume, but I'm not expert enough to know how visible it'll be from here. I'm guessing not very if the flash was only mag 17.

Still, it'd be nice to give her a 'Gray's Nebula' to tell her grandkids about.

In fact, heck with it, let's be optimistic: it'd be nice to think her grandkids will have a Gray's Nebula to fly their starships around. :o)

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Lol...

We can live in hope that she may have some integrity.

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Happy

Why

would she want to call it "Aswell"?

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Marital status unknown ?

You wrote: ''a chuffed Ms Gray said'' - so is there a possibility that this 10 year old is married then, or is El Reg suffering from PC madness ?

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Stop

Titles

About time we got rid of these silly bloody titles anyway. We have perfectly good names. Titles not indicating rank or qualification for professional purposes are long overdue being got rid of, in my view.

"Miss", "Mrs", "Ms", "Mr" - all pointless puffery. Especially when people apply them to themselves: "I'm Mister Smith". Ugh, the pomposity.

Besides, we don't even use them properly. 'Mrs' has nothing to do with being married - it denotes independence from the parental household. A female was 'Miss' while she remained under her parents' roof. Once she moved out and became a woman in her own right, she took the title of 'Mistress', abbreviated in writing to 'Mrs' (there was never any such title in spoken English as 'Missis').

'Mistress', of course, didn't denote marital status, so if we'd kept using it properly, 'Ms' would never have been required at all.

Sorry. It's just a longstanding gripe of mine. Personally, I don't use any of this outmoded nonsense - but it's a damn hard job getting this message across with forms and the people who process them. I end up being 'Other' most of the time, since 'Title' is invariably a mandatory field and 'Other' is the nearest thing they offer to 'None'.

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Dads and daughters: yes!

My dad taught me what he loved: geology, chemistry, outdoor wilderness lore, and not only did I have a great time as a kid learning about the world in macro and micro, but also how to explore it fearlessly. I also got to spend a lot of time with my dad, which was a good thing, because he was (and is) lovely and we were able to 'get on' as people with shared interests. Yes, he taught me his, but that's what parents do.

Miss Gray will have fabulous memories of her father her whole life. That is as good a gift as discovering a supernova.

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Happy

Very well said

That is all

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Headmaster

Super what?

"as the BBC says.."

that'll be supernovae then.

Someone should go in there and mangle them before I do!

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Re: Super what?

I was about to head off to the BBC to post a complaint about the plural form of supernova, but first I stopped by a dictionary.

Unfortunately it appears Supernovas is just as valid as Supernovae. Yes, I know, it's horrible, but it looks like our beloved language is being destroyed from beneath us. Maybe the OED is now maintained by the Guardian.

From checking a few dictionaries I have here, 'novas was valid in my third eldest dictionary from 1987. If it makes you feel better, the second eldest dictionary from 1932 doesn't even have Supernova, let alone the plural, so the damage was done some time in the 55 years between! I decided not to check the really old one from the 1800s!

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Stop

Mangle the BBC?

"Someone should go in there and mangle them before I do!"

Just do be careful not to tweet that sort of thing, please.

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Coat

The mangle of the dangle

I was very careful NOT to tweet (oh dear that's a noun (sorta) becoming a verb far too quickly and without the benefit of 200+ years of Oxford Professors humming and hawing over it.

I put the comments on El Reg, of course, because no self respecting plod would bother to look at it, being a bit erudite and out of their league.

Gotta run now, there's this rather loud knock at my door...

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Coat

Mmmm...

Ngh. Ach. Nnnnnnnn.... (Other sounds of straining willpower finally giving out to the sheer force of morning pedantry.)

"to tweet (oh dear that's a noun (sorta) becoming a verb far too quickly..."

N-n-n-n.... argh... no it's not....

It's a verb - birds have been tweeting and twittering for years - that's recently been applied as a noun to describe a short message on Twitter, and is now being used as the verb to describe posting the said message.

DAMMIT.

I'm sorry. For what it's worth I generally object annoyingly to any trendy fad-word, and 'tweet' is on my current list.

Actually, that's not really very effective mitigation for me, is it?

Coat.

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Headmaster

Usage, though, innit?

Strictly speaking, I suppose 'supernova' isn't that grammatical a term anyway. 'Nova' - the term for a star undergoing a bright but non-terminal cast-off of material - simply means 'new'. As in "the new star up there that we didn't notice before". And I'd submit that just referring to it as 'a new' doesn't really make a deal of sense, since we normally treat 'new' as an adjective, not a vowel. To worry about how to pluralise it, then... Well, I know we do this when we talk about 'the news' - but the usage there is so well-established that it'd seem a bit weird to start questioning it. (Although questioning the *benefit* of 'the news' is something I do quite a lot.)

But 'super-' indicates 'above' or 'beyond'. So when we have a supernova - the effective end of a star as a serious contender, leaving just a glowing cinder behind - we're basically talking about a 'beyond-new'.

So really, much as I don't like 'supernovas' either (and will continue to use 'supernovae', 'nebulae' and 'formulae'), we're kind of in a bit of a domo vitrea* when it comes to criticising the usage. It's just a slightly less sensible way of expressing something that already doesn't make much sense.

----

* Inexcusable. I'm terribly sorry and ashamed.

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Nicely done

Tip of the hat to her for her keen eye and interest. A big tip of the hat to her dad who is giving her an interest other than tv and video games

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Don't dis a 10 year old girl for discovered a SUPERNOVA - unless you were 9 when you did

There are a lot of adults who couldn't find all the differences in newspaper "spot the difference" puzzle if they were given the answer with red marker rings around the differences.

So please be happy Kathryn Aurora Gray spotted something cosmic. Don't be happy that you have been negative about someone else spotting something cosmic - are you threatened by girls doing things better than you ?

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Go

Ahh, Is This Code ?

Anglosaxon governments do strange things in certain schools just to make the little buggers feel involved into great politics and intelligence. That keeps them distracted from building RADAR jammers, Laser aircraft blinders and so forth.

Some of them apparently made a big "cloud" hanging over northern Germany for a couple of weeks (only in the weather RADAR of course) until some grown-ups managed to shut down the source of the signal.

Others did worse things and it shows Europe has and ample supply of Wannabe Mad Scientists who can't wait to get into the business of technical deception.

When I was young a metal saw did some sabotage on a nearby sewage facility. Shorting the light system with a big screwdriver was S.O.P. Then overhead phone lines called for some tapping (we didn't overhear anybody, though, as most people sleep after midnight).

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Eh?

What?

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Happy

@BorkedAgain: Don't believe all Reports

..that's what I meant to say. There have been stories about "manganese mining in the pacific", "russian and american sats colliding" and "killer bees programmed by the airforce" and much more of the like.

Some of these are just ruses to cover something and others are rather humourous public broadcasts for those "in the know". The russian/american sat collision can be understood, if you know that a "satellite" is also a term used in continental Europe for some entity being dependent on some other, much larger entity. The entity could be a country or a person or a group of persons. So the "sat collision" was meant to say that someone who is sympathetic to america collided with someone sympathetic to russia. Think of western guy meeting eastern girl, romance and then a rather vicious end of the romance. No satellites on actual orbits have been hurt in the process.

And the manganese story was fabricated to cover up the construction of Glomar Explorer, a super-winch to lift a sunken soviet missile submarine.

Maybe this supernova story is also some kind of code...

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Gibberish

I'm not sure what the blazes you *think* you're talking about but...

"Anglosaxon governments do strange things..."

No they don't. There are no Anglosaxon - or even Anglo-Saxon - governments. Haven't been since the formation of the kingdom of England, and certainly not since the Conquest in 1066. Generally, the use of 'Anglo-Saxon' these days - outside of the historical context at least - suggests that someone somewhere is a bit of a nationalistic fantasist.

"That keeps them distracted from building RADAR jammers"

Although radar is an acronym, you don't need to capitalise it any more. It's in common use now.

Either way, if you insist on capitalising radar, then you should also capitalise laser, which is also an acronym. Please be consistent.

"Europe has and ample supply of Wannabe Mad Scientists who can't wait to get into the business of technical deception."

Europe certainly has an ample supply of people writing completely irrelevant and possibly slightly unhinged vaguely conspiratorial nonsense on forums.

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@Sil_W: Here comes the Hairsplitter General

If you like, call them UKUSA countries instead of "Anglosaxon countries". That's a very precise definition you probably don't understand, because all you know is from CNN.com and BBC.com. I forgot UsaToday.com.

The radar/RADAR jamming thing was very real and the coded message with the "sat collision" also. There is much more going on than the media reports, and the common term for this is, well, $hite.

Glomar Explorer is even documented in books. Use that Yandex.com search engine to check it.

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FAIL

Ooooh, arrogance.

I love arrogance. It usually comes into play when the person has no idea how to react effectively, so they rely on condescension as a sort of ink cloud.

"If you like, call them UKUSA countries instead of "Anglosaxon countries"."

That's no better. 'UKUSA' would denote only two countries: the UK and the USA. Referring to 'UKUSA countries' would be equally pointless, since you've already named the two countries that the subsequent addition of 'countries' suggests that there's more than. With me? Say 'UK/USA' by all means, if you're referring to those two nations - but I think the rest of what you seem to imagine as the 'Anglosaxon' world would probably not thank you for equating them with either.

"[Anglosaxon is] a very precise definition you probably don't understand, because all you know is from CNN.com and BBC.com. I forgot UsaToday.com."

That's a pretty pretentious and supercilious attitude, for someone who doesn't seem to understand the precise definition he's criticising me for not understanding. Try this:

'Anglo-Saxon' is an amalgam term for tribes settling in the southern portions of Britain, and tradtionally said to comprise the Anglii or Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes. They started to arrive in Britain as migrants/invaders (depending on point of view) in around about the 5th century, largely displacing many of the existing 'Celtic' and Romano-British occupants of what would later become England (the name stems from 'Angle'). The settled Anglo-Saxons were themselves overtaken following the Norman Conquest in 1066 which saw the Anglo-Saxon rulers displaced by a Norman aristocracy and a strong French influence on English culture.

Given the migrations that have occurred since the Conquest, it is now, frankly, pretty daft to try to define any modern culture - and certainly any modern government - as 'Anglosaxon'.

And do you know, I didn't get any of that from USA Today! How about that?

"The radar/RADAR jamming thing was very real"

No doubt. I know that some very odd things can be done with radar. My point was simply that you don't have to capitalise it any more. If you insist on it, though, then capitalise LASER as well.

"Glomar Explorer is even documented in books."

Yes, I know. I didn't and wouldn't question the existence of Glomar Explorer - although I believe the vessel is now simply called 'Explorer'.

Hopefully now you've seen me properly splitting hairs you'll realise how little I was doing to begin with.

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WTF?

Fog. Cloud. Fog. More fog. Cloud. Fog. Fog again.

Unbelievable! An observatory in Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia has the most predictable weather on the planet. If there's an astronomical event, then it'll be cloudy that night.

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This is a breath of fresh air...

A child's sense of wonder being encouraged.

A proud father's love.

We need more of this in this world today.

Let not the words of the cynic sway you. They, that have lost the ability to see things as a child would, through their jaded adult eyes, might do well to contemplate this.

We need more of this in this world of ours today.

Happy New Year!

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They're Getting Younger - The Astronomers, Not The Supernovas

She beats the previous record-holder (for age), Caroline Moore (<http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/06/11/junior_astronomer_spots_junior_supernova/>).

I await the next supernova discovery by a six year old in Australia.

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Joke

@hmm #

Your last para, sir... new keyboard required!

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Science 1

Superstition and ignorance 0

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WTF?

Curious...

What on Earth leads you to crowbar 'superstition and ignorance' into this? Where's the reference in the article to anything at all that could be so described?

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Happy

Oh, and by the way...

Yay! Well done to her, and double-well-done to her Dad. Any parents here not wishing they could do something similar for/with their kid(s)?

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