Human Elements: Studying stars by going back in time

Stars over the Swope Telescope pictured at night in Chile. (Kathryn Neugent/Crosscut)

Emily Levesque studies the moment of mystery when a star dies — the millisecond when its bright light explodes into a supernova or collapses into a black hole. By peeking through high-powered telescopes and analyzing reams of data, Emily can go back in time to discover what happened in the universe millions of years ago. In her world, the night sky only gets more beautiful when you understand how it lives and dies.

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