James Webb Space Telescope detects a surprise supernova

The James Webb Space Telescope has surprised scientists by unexpectedly detecting its first supernova, an explosion of a dying star. The detection could possibly open up an entirely new area of research possibilities, scientists say.

Just a few days after the start of its science operations, the James Webb Space Telescope‘s NIRCam camera spotted an unexpected bright object in a galaxy called SDSS.J141930.11+5251593, some 3 to 4 billion light-years from Earth. The bright object dimmed over a five-day period, suggesting that it could have been a supernova, caught by sheer luck shortly after the star exploded. (The astronomers compared the new observations with archived data from the Hubble Space Telescope to confirm the light was new.)