NASA catches an exploding nova on tape

May 1, 2012
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Talk about a once in a blue moon opportunity. Actually, it's more like once in a white binary star system. NASA has managed to capture footage of a cosmic event in which a binary star system, known as a nova, exploded. This happens when one star collects too much hydrogen from the other star in a binary system, creating unsustainable tension and leading to a massive explosion.

NASA doesn't have cameras in every corner of the galaxy, but it did happen to have one fixated on this particular area. Because the white dwarf involved in a nova explosion stays intact and is likely to repeat the same thing again, the space agency will now keep an even closer eye on it to see what happens. And even though it did technically capture this event on camera, it was quite a distance away, so it's very difficult to see.

Nevertheless, NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft gets kudos for this one. It was recording the area where the nova explosion happened from April 20 to April 24. The nova has been given the name Sagittarii 2012. It does not pose any material threat to Earth. It is nothing like a supernova, which is much larger and potentially dangerous if it is close enough to the planet. But it's still neat to watch. Check it out below.

[via Universe Today]


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