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:...

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