With nicknames such as Gilgamesh, Aphrodite, and Athena—as well as Elvis—10 recently discovered supernovas are something special. Indeed, these supernovas provide what appears to be proof of one of the weirdest properties of the universe: Something is pushing objects in the cosmos apart at an ever-faster rate.

Adam G. Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore is presenting the new findings this week at a cosmology symposium at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

The data “will help us understand the nature of cosmic acceleration,” says cosmologist Michael S. Turner of the University of Chicago.

The notion of a universe speeding up its expansion rate has been in the spotlight since 1998, when two teams of astronomers measured the brightness of type 1a supernovas that were remote but considerably closer to Earth than the newfound crop (SN: 3/21/98, p. 185). Because type 1a supernovas all have about the same intrinsic brightness, like lightbulbs of the same wattage, it’s easy to predict how bright they ought to appear on the basis of their distance from Earth.

But the measured brightness…

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