The supernova were spotted through the Keck Telescope in Hawaii.

The supernova were spotted through the Keck Telescope in Hawaii.

Four times the explosive wonder

It is rare for scientists to see an ancient star exploding. So when it happened four times, ANU scientist Dr Brad Tucker was impressed.

The exploding star, or supernova, was directly behind a cluster of huge galaxies and the mass of these galaxies is so great they warp the space-time continuum.

This forms a magnifying glass effect, creating multiple images of the supernova.

Tucker, from the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, says the cosmic magnifying glass effect was predicted by Albert Einstein 100 years ago.

"It's perfectly set up, you couldn't have designed a better experiment," Tucker says.

"You can test some of the biggest questions about Einstein's theory of relativity all at once - it kills three birds with one stone."

The findings were published in Science and in this video below, Tucker explains how it all happened.