RS Ophiuchi Erupts as a Nova — Here’s How to See This “New Star”

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      On 8 August, astronomers around the world observed a massive wave of energy, signaling the nova eruption of this volatile couple 50 centuries in the past. Over the course of days, RS Oph grew nearly 1,600 times brighter than normal.

      Similar eruptions were seen from RS Oph in 1933, 1958, 1967, 1985, and 2006. Two earlier eruptions, in 1898 and 1907 were later found in earlier data.

      The pair of stars orbit close to each other, building up an accretion disk — a thin rounded plate of material falling into the gravitational grip of the white dwarf.

      “Astronomers speculate that at some time in the next 100,000 years, enough matter will have accumulated on the white dwarf to push it over the Chandrasekhar Limit, causing a much more powerful and final explosion known as a supernova,” NASA described following the 2006 event.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

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