Bright Astronomy Club Inc.


New Nova

Congratulations to our Bright Astronomy Club Inc member Rob Kaufman on discovering a new nova! He sent this story:

Once upon a time in a far-flung region of the Milky Way Galaxy, a star detonated its outer layers that it had accumulated by drawing matter off its close companion star. The blinding light from this tremendous runaway nuclear fusion blast expanded out into space in all directions as a 'bubble', at the speed of 300,000 km/sec.

The light travelled across the vast emptiness of space for thousands of years, and last Sunday night a little of this light that had finally reached Earth passed through my camera lens and impacted on the sensor. The resulting photograph showed a relatively bright star where there had been none visible before. I made the appropriate notifications and on Tuesday morning I was officially acknowledged as the discoverer of Nova Muscae 2018 ( = "new" star in the constellation of Musca in the year 2018).

Needless to say, I'm pretty excited - these events are relatively rare (several a year only) and of great scientific interest. The nova is just not quite bright enough to be seen with the naked eye (although I've seen one report of that, under very dark conditions) and will fade off in time.


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