This Star Has Been Going Nova Every Year, for Millions of Years

Universe Today | 2/19/2019 | Staff
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A nova star is like a vampire that siphons gas from its binary partner. As it does so, the gas is compressed and heated, and eventually it explodes. The remnant gas shell from that explosion expands outward and is lit up by the stars at the center of it all. Most of these novae explode about once every 10 years.

But now astrophysicists have discovered one remnant so large that the star that created it must have been erupting yearly for millions of years.

Team - Astrophysicist - Findings - Letter - Nature

The team of astrophysicist published their findings in a letter in the journal Nature.

The star in question is in the Andromeda galaxy, and it’s called M31N 2008-12a. When it erupts as a nova, it brightens by a million times and the ejected material travels outward at thousand of miles per second. The team behind the study thinks that M32N 2008-12a goes nova every year, and the result is what they’re calling a “super remnant” that measures almost 400 light years across.

M31N - Year

“When we first discovered that M31N 2008-12a erupted every year, we were very surprised.”

“When we first discovered that M31N 2008-12a erupted every year, we were very surprised,” said Shafter. Most novae erupt about once every 10 years.

Team - Astrophysicists - Members - San - Diego

The team of astrophysicists, which includes members from San Diego Statue University and from the Liverpool John Moores University in England, used observations from the Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based telescopes. They studied the chemical composition of the expanding remnant to confirm its association with the star at the center, M31N 2008-12a.

The interesting thing about this distant nova is its possible connection to something larger in the Universe, something that astronomers inherently rely on to understand the Universe: Type 1a Supernovae.

People - Star - Times - Sun - Enough

Most people are familiar with supernovae overall. A star several times more massive than our Sun eventually burns enough of the hydrogen...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Universe Today
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