Magazine issue 2747
I have the cover story on New Scientist this week.
“At first, there didn't seem anything earth-shattering about the tiny point of light that pricked the southern Californian sky on a mild night in early April 2007. Only the robotic eyes of the Nearby Supernova Factory, a project designed to spy out distant stellar explosions, spotted it from the Palomar Observatory, high in the hills between Los Angeles and San Diego.
The project's computers automatically forwarded the images to a data server to await analysis. The same routine kicks in scores of times each year when a far-off star in its death throes explodes onto the night sky, before fading back to obscurity once more.
But this one did not fade away. It got brighter. And brighter. That's when human eyes became alert. ...”
Read the full story here