Hotly Debated for Years, Mingus, The Most Distant Supernova Ever Seen May Yield Secrets Of Dark Energy

‘Mingus’ Most Distant Supernova Ever Seen, May Illuminate Secrets Of Dark Energy

The most distant supernova ever seen has been described by scientists at the 221st American Astronomical Society meeting this week.

Nicknamed Mingus — after the jazz musician Charlie Mingus — Supernova SN SCP-0401 was a chance find in a routine survey that began in 2004 and was carried out in part by the Supernova Cosmology Project (SCP) using the Hubble space telescope.

For a sense of perspective on the distance between the phenomena and planet earth, David Rubin of the University of California, Berkeley, the lead author on the study, said:

“This supernova is about as bright as a firefly viewed from 3,000 miles away.”

It wasn’t until astronauts installed the Wide Field Camera 3 on the Hubble telescope in 2009 and fixed it on the anomaly that they could positively identify it.

“Unfortunately, it took the development of Wide Field Camera 3 to bring home what the [2004] measurements meant,” Rubin told BBC News. Adding, “The sensitivity is a few times better, which makes a huge difference, and we have a much cleaner image.”

The scientific team went on to confirm that the supernova was a Type 1a, a “dead” white exploded dwarf star whose light occurs in such a regular way that it is known as a “standard candle.”

Astronomers are now hoping the ten billion light-years distant Mingus will help them understand more about so-called dark energy, the force that appears to be accelerating cosmic expansion.

Supernova Mingus Will Shed Light On Dark Energy