Astronomers first observed a star flare from start to finish

Astronomers first observed a star flare from beginning to end. They did this using the BRITE satellite.

The emergence of a new star is a dramatic episode in the life of a binary pair of celestial bodies, scientists explained. This is an explosion that can last for weeks or even months. Despite the fact that the phenomenon is quite common (about 10 in the Milky Way annually detect them) – astronomers have never before observed them from beginning to end.

In this case, the star appeared in the cramped binary system V906 Carinae, where one of the stars went through its red giant phase, leaving behind the remains of a white dwarf. When the white dwarf and his partner approached each other, the massive gravitational attraction of the white dwarf attracted hydrogen from another star.

This hydrogen accreted on the surface of the white dwarf, forming a thin atmosphere. The white dwarf heated hydrogen, after which the gas pressure became extremely high and an explosion occurred.

Astronomers used the BRITE satellite (BRIght Target Explorer), consisting of nanosatellites, which make it possible to observe the entire process. The explosion of Nova V906 in the constellation Carinae confirms some of the theoretical concepts underlying the formation of the star.

For the first time, the constellation V906 Carinae was spotted using automated sky exploration. Carinae V906 is located at a distance of about 13 thousand light-years, so this event has already become history. It is so far from us that its light takes about 13 thousand years to reach the Earth.

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