A team of researchers at the Kavli IPMU led by Robert Quimby has identified what may prove to be the first ever Type Ia supernova (SNIa) magnified by a strong gravitational lens. In this work, the ‘standard candle’ property of Type Ia supernovae is used to directly measure the magnification due to gravitational lensing. This provides the first glimpse of the science that will soon come out of dark matter and dark energy studies derived from deep, wide-field imaging surveys.

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Schematic illustration of the magnification of a supernova. A massive object between us and the supernova bends light rays much as a glass lens can focus light. As more light rays are directed toward the observer than would be without the lens, the supernova appears magnified. (Credit: Kavli IPMU)