1 Jul 2009

Canterbury farmer discovers supernova

10:17 pm on 1 July 2009

A New Zealand farmer has beaten major observatories and discovered a supernova.

Stuart Parker, a farmer from Oxford in Canterbury, made the discovery a few days ago using a computer-controlled camera mounted on a 14-inch telescope.

The star, which is about 60 million light years away, exploded between 40 million and 50 million years ago.

Mr Parker says it has taken all this time for light from the cataclysmic explosion to reach earth.

He says an Australian observatory has confirmed his discovery.

Mr Parker says supernovas are fleeting events, lasting only between about a week and three months, and he plans to continue scanning the skies.