Saturday morning astronomy news roundup

The Sun is acting up again. Forget the wimpy M-class flare from a couple of weeks ago — this week the surface of the Sun has erupted with an X-class flare, the most intense kind. Click on the link for nifty images.

Mystery solved: scientists had been confused by an exceptionally bright supernova detected in another galaxy until they realized that it was artificially brightened by a gravitational lens. The supernova, which was 30 times brighter than any other of the same class, had scientists wondering if they had discovered a new type of stellar explosion. But new evidence indicates another galaxy lies along the line of sight between us and the supernova and has warped the light coming from the supernova in a way that makes it appear ultra-bright.

NASA’s Mars rover, Curiosity, has captured the first-ever images of asteroids from the surface of Mars. The asteroids, Ceres and Vesta, are the largest and third-largest objects in the asteroid belt that lies between Mars and Jupiter. In fact, these asteroids are so big that if you were standing on the surface of Mars, you would be able to see them without a telescope.

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