STEREO Captures a Nova Eruption (May 4, 2012)
Hi-res TIF (426K)
Something rarely seen: the Nova Sagittarii 2012 seen from a wide field instrument on the STEREO-B spacecraft. The movie runs from April 20 - 24, 2012, with approximately one frame per hour. If you watch closely, you will see the bright spot appear where the arrow is pointing. A nova is a star that suddenly increases its light output tremendously and then fades away to its former obscurity in a few months or years. An outburst occurs when a white dwarf in a binary system erupts in an enormous thermonuclear explosion. A nova is not the same as a Supernova, the collapse and explosion of a massive star whose core has finally fused its last "breath". This is only the second time STEREO has seen this kind of event. The Sun is to the left of the frame and Earth is many millions of miles to the right.
Credit: NASA STEREO/NRL's SECCHI HI-1
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