In what could be called a coincidence of cosmic proportions, an amateur astrophotographer from Argentina (say that three times fast!) has, for the first time, captured a spectacular space phenomenon on camera against nearly impossible odds, as reported by LiveScience.com.
Victor Buso was testing out a new camera mounted to a 16-inch telescope when he pointed it at a spiral galaxy more than 80 million light years away and inadvertently captured the beginning stages of a supernova, the death — and violent explosion or implosion — of a supermassive star.
In one photo, the area near the NGC 613 galaxy appeared black and empty, while subsequent photos showed a bright dot in the area. After noticing the spot appear in his images, the 58-year-old locksmith immediately shared them with astronomers, who quickly trained their own telescopes on the area of the sky near the NGC 613 galaxy and confirmed his findings.
Buso's images are extremely important to the scientific community as they have allowed scientists to observe what had previously been only the speculation of physicists. No similar image has ever been captured, and the odds of photographing an emerging supernova on camera are estimated at 1 in 10 million.
Lead image is used with permission from C. Kilpatrick (University of California-Santa Cruz) and the Carnegie Institute for Science, Las Campanas Observatory, Chile.