False-color images from observations by the Supernova Cosmology Project of one of the two most distant spectroscopically confirmed supernova. From the left: the first two images, from the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory 4-meter telescope, show a small region of sky just before and just after the the appearance of a type-Ia supernova that exploded when the universe was about half its present age. The third image shows the same supernova as observed with the Hubble Space Telescope. This much sharper picture allows a much better measurement of the apparent brightness and hence the distance of this supernova. Because their intrinsic brightness is predictable, such supernovae help to determine the deceleration, and so the eventual fate, of the universe.
Credit: Perlmutter et al., The Supernova Cosmology Project