Scientists have discovered a new type of powerful explosion on the edge of our galaxy! When a large star reaches the end of its life cycle, it usually explodes in a supernova. But scientists found evidence of a rare, massive stellar explosion that likely occurred shortly after the Big Bang. It was 10 times brighter and more energetic than a normal supernova. The star that exploded was likely massive and spinning very fast, with a strong magnetic field. That’s why scientists are calling the explosion a magneto-rotational hypernova.

How did they find it? Astronomers were studying a star that had low amounts of iron but unusually high amounts of heavier elements such as zinc, uranium, and europium. According to astronomer Chiaki Kobayashi, this indicates a huge explosion—larger than your average supernova—had taken place to create these heavier elements. Exploding stars typically create lighter elements like carbon, silicon, iron, and gold. “It is the only thing that explains the results,” says Kobayashi.