A group of astronomers have now discovered a new type of explosion that can occur on stars, a phenomenon known as a micronova. The discovery was made using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT).
Despite its name, micronovas are not very small eruptions, one of these eruptions can consume about 20 trillion or 20 billion kilograms of material, the equivalent of 3.5 billion Khufu pyramids, ESO wrote in a press release. Simon Scaringi of Durham University in the UK, who led the investigation into the explosion, says:
“We have discovered and identified for the first time what we call a micronova. This phenomenon challenges our understanding of how thermonuclear explosions occur in stars. We thought we knew, but this discovery shows an entirely new possibility of causing something like this.”
The micronovora can easily be described as the smaller variant of the so-called novoras. Both types of explosions occur on so-called white dwarfs, which are dead stars of the same mass as the Sun, but the size of the Earth. In the animation below, you can check out how the micronova looks. ESO writes about the process:
“This computer-generated illustration shows a two-star system where micronovas can occur. The blue disk around the white dwarf in the center of the image is made of material, primarily hydrogen, that it attracted from its companion. The white dwarf is powerful. The magnetic field picks up material from the center of the disk. .
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