How can an exploding star appear far brighter than expected? This question vexed astronomers since the discovery of PS1-10afx, supernova that was about 30 times more luminous than other Type 1A supernovas. Astronomers have just confirmed in Science that it was likely due to well-known illusion in space.
The mirage is called a gravitational lens that happens when a huge object in the foreground (like a galaxy) bends the light of an object in the background. Astronomers use this trick all the time to spy on galaxies and even to map dark matter, the mysterious substance believed to make up most of the universe.
Check out some spectacular images below of the phenomenon in action.