Barbara Mikulski Honored With Supernova

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) has received a rare honor from the depths of space.

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) named a supernova -- a massive exploding star more than eight times our Sun's mass and 7.4 billion light-years away -- after the senator on Thursday.

STScI also dedicated the Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes.

"I am proud to be the namesake of the archives at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which are the enduring legacy of Hubble and will allow us to peer even further into the origins of the universe after the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope," Mikulski, the Chairwoman of the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee, said in a statement.

Mikulski, Congress' longest-serving woman, is a longtime supporter of the Hubble space program -- which discovered Supernova Mikulski in January -- and also worked to secure an additional $530 million for the James Webb Space Telescope last year, The Hill reports. The Webb project is a large, infrared-optimized space telescope set to be housed at STScI's headquarters in Baltimore, Md.

"In celebration of Sen. Mikulski's career-long achievements, and particularly this year, becoming the longest-serving woman in U.S. Congressional history, we sought NASA's permission to established the Senator's permanent legacy to science by naming the optical and ultraviolet data archive housed here at the Institute in her honor," said STScI director Matt Mountain.

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