NASA Hubble Space Telescope Maps Explosive Nova During Stellar Outburst

June 4, 2013 6:46 PM

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NASA Hubble Space Telescope Maps Explosive Nova During Stellar Outburst

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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