Science: Two Million Suns

Astronomer Nicholas U. Mayall of Lick Observatory, Calif., was taking routine pictures of N.G.C. 6964, a spiral nebula four million light-years away. On one of the plates last week his practiced eye discovered a monstrous star that should not have been there. It was a supernova, an obscure star that had exploded suddenly. When Dr. Mayall photographed it first, its "absolute brilliance" was equal to two million suns. It had probably faded from a peak a few weeks ago of four million suns. If any planets had been revolving around that unstable star, they were certainly vaporized by now into scattered...

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