Skywatch

  • January 20, 2011

    Episode 315: Satellite Detects Exploding Stars

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    Shownotes

    An Air Force satellite carrying instruments to measure wind velocity on Earth and another to measure disturbances in the solar wind also detected explosive stars, or "novae." These novae are stellar flare-ups that are not as catastrophic or bright as supernovae. The observations were of confirmed novae, but some of the data captured the explosion before it achieved peak brightness. This has not been done before from the ground or space. Such observations can be used to study the phenomena that create such repeated stellar explosions in greater detail.