SN Wilson is known as a Type Ia supernova — a particular kind of star explosion that gives scientists a sense of how the universe has expanded over time.
"This new distance record holder opens a window into the early universe, offering important new insights into how these stars explode," research leader David Jones of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., said in a statement. "We can test theories about how reliable these detonations are for understanding the evolution of the universe and its expansion." [See Amazing Pictures of Supernovas]
SN Wilson is only four percent more distant than the last most distant supernova of its kind found by Hubble, NASA officials said in a statement. However, that is still 350 million years further back in time than any other previously found star explosion.
By understanding when massive stars began exploding, scientists can get a sense of how quickly the universe was seeded with the elements needed to create planets and other cosmic bodies.