Nova in Centaurus

By: Alex Cherney


Region: Australia and Pacific

Site: Victoria - Australia

Date: 2013 December 30

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Brightest stellar beacons of the constellation Centaurus, Alpha and Beta Centauri are easy to spot in southern sky scene from Victoria, Australia. However there is a "guest" new star, a nova, in this view, shining in the naked-eye visibility, next to Beta Centauri (the second brightest in the view). Click on the constellation icon above the image to fine the nova. Known as Nova Centauri 2013 this erupting star is an interacting binary system composed of a dense, hot white dwarf and cool, giant companion star. Material from the companion star builds up as it falls onto the white dwarf's surface triggering a thermonuclear event. The cataclysmic blast results in a drastic increase in brightness and an expanding shell of debris. The stars are not destroyed and the nova can repeat in future. Alex Cherney,

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