Whoa, NASA captures a nova exploding on video

Now this is something you don't see every day: actual video footage of a binary star system exploding into space.


This isn't to be confused with a supernova, which is a star that has collapsed in on itself causing it to completely self-destruct — rather, a nova is a cataclysmic nuclear explosion that happens in a binary system when one star sucks away too much hydrogen from its partner. A white dwarf can only hold so much hydrogen before it reaches critical mass and completely explodes, thereby ejecting all its excess mass into space.

Illustration for article titled Whoa, NASA captures a nova exploding on video

What's even more fascinating is that the white dwarf remains intact and continues to draw hydrogen from its partner, thus repeating the cycle. This is why NASA is going to keep its eye on this particularly juicy spot in the cosmos.

The video was captured by NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft as it kept its camera on that region of space from April 20 to 24, 2012. NASA has yet to determine exactly how far it is. Called Sagittarii 2012, the nova is far weaker than a supernova, and poses no threat to us here on Earth.

Via Universe Today. Image via Wikipedia

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Oh my, that was anticlimactic.