In January 2002, a moderately dim star in the constellation Monoceros, the Unicorn, suddenly became 600 000 times more luminous than our Sun. This made it temporarily the brightest star in our Milky Way. The light from this eruption created a unique phenomenon known as a light echo when it reflected off dust shells around the star.
The brightness of V838 Monocerotis, as astronomers call the star, has long since returned to normal levels. Observations by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope show remarkable details in the shells of dust lit by the titanic stellar eruption. Astronomers may be able to probe the entire 3D structure of the dust shells surrounding this aging star in much the same way as a doctor does a CAT scan on a patient. The results will appear on 27 March 2003 in Nature.
Astronomers last saw light echoing off dust around stars in our Milky Way in 1936, long before Hubble was able to study this rare sight in the underworld of dusty, black interstellar space.
"As light from the outburst continues to reflect off the dust surrounding the star, we view continuously changing cross-sections of the dust envelope. Hubbles sharp view is allowing us to do astronomical tomography of the dust with unprecedented resolution." says the lead observer, astronomer Howard Bond of the Space Telescope Science Institute in the United States.
Lars Lindberg Christensen | alfa
UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion
16.11.2018 | University of New Hampshire
NASA keeps watch over space explosions
16.11.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
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