Fortunately, we had telescopes to spot it.
From Earth, the blaze shone blue, showing that the supernova reached billions of degrees of temperature.
"That's it," says Dr. Brad Tucker, "a very, very massive event."
Dr Tucker, an astronomer at the Australian National University, was part of a team of 130 international scientists who spent months studying the data and images of the explosion of a star studded with telescopes around the world.
Supernovae, among the most powerful explosions in the galaxy, are very rare. Astronomers knew they could be caused when two white dwarfs – ancient stars containing fuel and compressed by gravity around the size of our planet – fester in each other.
But they doubted that there was another activist. A white dwarf can be preyed on another, younger star, who sucks her material. At some point, the white dwarf can get so much mass that it could not be supported.
And then, it was theorized, it would explode.
This white dwarf fate seemed to confirm that theory, said Dr. Tucker.
As a nuclear bomb, supernova created a huge shock wave that ran through the universe before the explosion itself.
Through their telescopes, astronomers noted that the shock wave hit the neighboring star of the white dwarf. The shock wave was strong enough to "get out of the way," says Dr. Tucker.
"It will not cause other stars to rise, but it will shake it."
Scientists will use the footage of the star's death to study how the supernova form and burn. There are many unanswered questions, says Dr. Tucker.
The finding was released on Saturday Astrophysical Letters Letters and Astrophysical Journal.
Liam is a learned journalist at Fairfax Media