NASA Hubble Space Telescope Maps Explosive Nova During Stellar Outburst

June 4, 2013 6:46 PM

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Novae can be explosive, spewing material into space as they erupt. Now, astronomers have used NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to observe the light emitted by the close double-star system T Pyxidis during its latest stellar outburst and create a 3D map.

A nova erupts when a white dwarf, the burned-out core of a sun-like star, has siphoned off enough hydrogen from a companion star in order to trigger a thermonuclear runaway. As hydrogen builds up on the surface of the white dwarf, it becomes hotter and denser. Eventually, the star detonates like a c...

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