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Posts Tagged ‘nova’

Hubble Maps 3-D Structure Of Ejected Material Around Erupting Star


A flash of light from a stellar outburst has been used to probe for the first time the 3-D structure of material ejected by an erupting nova.

Astronomers used NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to observe the light emitted by the close double-star system T Pyxidis, or T Pyx, a recurrent nova, during its latest outburst in April 2011. Contrary to some predictions, the astronomers were somewhat surprised to find that the ejecta from earlier outbursts stayed in the vicinity of the star and formed a disk of debris around the nova. The discovery suggests that material continues expanding outward along the system’s orbital plane, but it does not escape the system.

“We fully expected this to be a spherical shell,” says Arlin Crotts of Columbia University in New York City, a member of the research team. “This observation shows that it is a disk, and it is populated with fast-moving ejecta from previous outbursts.”

Full Story: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2013/21/full/

Neon Lights Up Exploding Stars

January 18, 2013 2 comments

Artistic view. Credit: David A Hardy and STFC

Artistic view. Credit: David A Hardy and STFC

An international team of nuclear astrophysicists has shed new light on the explosive stellar events known as novae. These dramatic explosions are driven by nuclear processes and make previously unseen stars visible for a short time. The team of scientists measured the nuclear structure of the radioactive neon produced through this process in unprecedented detail.

Their findings, reported in the US journal Physical Review Letters, show there is much less uncertainty in how quickly one of the key nuclear reactions will occur as well as in the final abundance of radioactive isotopes than has previously been suggested.

Dr Alison Laird, from the University of York’s Department of Physics, said: “…We have demonstrated that previous assumptions about key nuclear properties are incorrect and have improved our knowledge of the nuclear reaction pathway.”

Full Story: http://www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2013/research/exploding-stars/

Our Galaxy Might Hold Thousands of Ticking ‘Time Bombs’

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

In this artist's conception, a supernova explosion is about to obliterate an orbiting Saturn-like planet. Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA)

In this artist's conception, a supernova explosion is about to obliterate an orbiting Saturn-like planet. Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA)

In the Hollywood blockbuster “Speed,” a bomb on a bus is rigged to blow up if the bus slows down below 50 miles per hour. The premise – slow down and you explode – makes for a great action movie plot, and also happens to have a cosmic equivalent.

New research shows that some old stars might be held up by their rapid spins, and when they slow down, they explode as supernovae. Thousands of these “time bombs” could be scattered throughout our Galaxy.

 

 

 

 

 

Full Story: http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/news/2011/pr201123.html

‘Once in a Generation’ Supernova Discovered

August 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Credit: Peter Nugent and the Palomar Transient Factory

Credit: Peter Nugent and the Palomar Transient Factory

A supernova discovered Wednesday is closer to Earth ––approximately 21 million light years away –– than any other of its kind in a generation. Astronomers believe they caught the supernova within hours of its explosion –– a rare feat for events of this type.

The discovery of a supernova so early in its life, and so close to Earth has energized the astronomical community. Scientists around the world are scrambling to observe it with as many telescopes as possible, including the Hubble Space Telescope, and telescopes from the UC Santa Barbara-affiliated Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGT).

Full Story: http://www.ia.ucsb.edu/pa/display.aspx?pkey=2550