Science: A Wonder in the Southern Sky

Astronomers revel over a rare supernova visible to the naked eye

While scanning some routine sky photographs at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile last week, Astronomer Ian Shelton felt a surge of excitement. In an exposure he had taken just hours before with one of the observatory's small telescopes was a bright spot that had not appeared in older pictures. Stepping out into the clear mountain air of the Chilean coastal range, the University of Toronto scientist reverted to a technique now used only rarely by professional stargazers: he looked up at the sky. There, in the fuzzy patch of light known as the Large Magellanic Cloud, was the spot. Says Shelton:...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!