A partially exploding star, known as a nova, has recovered more quickly than expected, say scientists who have analysed new data from the ESA`s XMM-Newton X-ray satellite.
Nova explosions are not completely destructive phenomena. In fact, after an explosion occurs, the star recovers and starts shining again. Until now, astronomers have not known how long this process takes. In this case, however, the exploding star recovered in less than three years. This is surprising, given the fact that the original explosion released about 100 000 times the energy given out by our Sun in a single year.
Exploding stars come in a number of guises, the largest being supernovae. In their case, nothing is left of the star after its immense detonation, except for the ultimate of all astronomical mysteries: a black hole. However, in the case of a nova, the explosion is not so destructive and the star lives to shine another day. How long does it take to return to normal after the explosion, or outburst as astronomers prefer to call it? XMM-Newton has provided the answer - a few years at most.
Fred Jansen | ESA
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