Kathryn Aurora Gray of Fredericton spotted an exploding star on Sunday while looking at images of the night sky sent to her by an astronomer friend of the family.
She is the youngest person ever to make such a discovery.
Kathryn’s father, Paul Gray, is an amateur astronomer and was staring at the computer with his daughter when she spotted the supernova.
“She pointed at the spot,” said Paul. “She goes, ‘What is that? Is that one?’ I’m thinking, ‘That’s quite possible.'”
“A supernova is a star at the end of its life,” said Kathryn. “It’s actually a star blowing up, ripping itself to pieces.”
The images were taken through a telescope in the backyard observatory of astronomer David Lane.
Lane is a friend of the Gray family who lives near Halifax and noted Kathryn’s enthusiasm when she once visited his observatory.
“She basically won the jackpot or the lottery that night,” said Lane.
The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada has confirmed the discovery and says the supernova was found in a galaxy 240 light-years from Earth.