Many stars end their lives with a with a bang, but only a few of these stellar explosions have been caught in the act. When they are, spotting them successfully has been down to pure luck - until now.

On December 11, astronomers not only imaged a supernova in action, but saw it when and where they had predicted it would be. The supernova, nicknamed Refsdal, has been spotted in the galaxy cluster MACS J1149.5+2223.While the light from the cluster has taken about five billion years to reach us, the supernova itself exploded much earlier, nearly 10 billion years ago.

"While studying the supernova, we realised that the galaxy in which it exploded is already known to be a galaxy that is being lensed by the cluster," explained Steve Rodney, study co-author from University of South Carolina in a NASA statement.

"The supernova's host galaxy appears to us in at least three distinct images caused by the warping mass of the galaxy cluster," he noted.

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