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Do You Know: The Oldest Ever Detected Supernova Happened 10.5 Billion Years Ago

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Countless galaxies exist in the universe, each hiding secrets that humankind is yet to unearth. Pixabay
  • The first Supernova ever discovered was 10.5 billion years old
  • The star named DES16C2nm was detected by the Dark Energy Survey
  • Researchers used very powerful telescopes to detect it

An international team of astronomers has discovered the oldest supernova ever detected — a huge cosmic explosion that took place 10.5 billion years ago.

A supernova is the explosion of a massive star at the end of its life cycle.

The first supernova discovered was 10.5 billion years old. Wikimedia  Commons
The first supernova discovered was 10.5 billion years old. Wikimedia Commons

The exploding star, named DES16C2nm, was detected by the Dark Energy Survey (DES), an international collaboration to map several hundred million galaxies in order to find out more about dark energy — the mysterious force believed to be causing the accelerated expansion of the universe.

As detailed in a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal, light from the event has taken 10.5 billion years to reach Earth, making it the oldest supernova ever discovered and studied.

The universe itself is thought to be 13.8 billion years old.

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“It’s thrilling to be part of the survey that has discovered the oldest known supernova,” said the lead author of the study Mathew Smith of the University of Southampton in Britain.

A star called DES16C2nm was discovered. Pixabay
A star called DES16C2nm was discovered. Pixabay

is extremely distant, extremely bright, and extremely rare – not the sort of thing you stumble across every day as an astronomer,” Smith said.

The researchers used three powerful telescopes — the Very Large Telescope and the Magellan, in Chile, and the Keck Observatory, in Hawaii — to measure the exploding star’s distance and brightness.

More than 400 scientists from over 25 institutions worldwide are involved in the DES, a five-year project which began in 2013.

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Researchers: Friends in High Places may Get You Recognised but Harm Your Chance at Glory

These findings should invite some healthy cynicism among those who still have unconditional faith in the universalistic principles

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Researchers, Friends, Harm
Being friends with an award juror can increase a person's chance of being nominated but decrease their chances of being selected as the victor. Pixabay

Researchers have found that friends in high places may get you recognised but ultimately harm your chance at glory.

Being friends with an award juror can increase a person’s chance of being nominated but decrease their chances of being selected as the victor, according to the study published in the Academy of Management Journal.

“These findings should invite some healthy cynicism among those who still have unconditional faith in the universalistic principles that are supposed to inspire meritocratic institutions, but should also come as hopeful news to those who have long lost that faith,” said Simone Ferriani, Professor at the University of Bologna.

For the study, researchers combined statistical analysis of eight years of decision-making data from the most prestigious Norwegian advertising industry competition with industry member interviews and sought to understand how relationships between jurors and entrants affect competition results.

Researchers, Friends, Harm
Researchers have found that friends in high places may get you recognised but ultimately harm your chance at glory. Pixabay

Three relationship dynamics were used to understand how jurors’ decisions are influenced direct ties — the extent to which jury members tend to favour candidates with whom they have worked in the past. Reciprocity — the extent to which jury members tend to favour candidates from whom they have themselves been favoured in the past.

Cliquishness — the extent to which jury members tend to favour candidates who are part of the same network clique as the jury members.

The researchers found that while all three dynamics can improve a candidate’s chance of receiving an honourable mention, only reciprocity boosts their chances of being the victor.

“Having a direct tie to, or being a part of the same clique as an award juror can help candidates be shortlisted or nominated but then actually prevent them winning,” he said.

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“This, we believe, is because people in charge of granting prestigious honours may be driven by self-serving relational interests, as much as the genuine desire to signal their moral integrity and deflect potential inauthentic concerns away,” he added. (IANS)