Surprisingly enough, I’m not talking about Britney Spears.

Here’s a little news for my fellow space geeks. If you saw an extra star in the handle of the Little Dipper constellation (correction: not in the frame of the Little Dipper, but rather as bright as the stars in its handle — thanks PlanetTom) early Thursday morning, it was due to an exploding star 7.5 billion light years away. The exploding star is the one glowing like Ted Kennedy at closing time:

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The explosion occurred 7.5 billion years ago and has set a record for the most distant object that could be seen from earth with the naked eye — at least until they figure out how to get Bono’s ego out there.

Here’s something kind of creepy — this is how the star explosion looked through the world’s most powerful optical telescope at Arizona’s Mount Graham International Observatory:

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