Astronomers just found a new type of 'thermonuclear burst' from stars

Astronomers have used NASA's TESS and ESO's VLT to identify a new kind of stellar explosion in three examples called a micronovae.

@AdamHuntTT
Published Thu, Apr 21 2022 3:07 AM CDT   |   Updated Fri, May 13 2022 1:59 PM CDT

A study on the new stellar explosion titled "Localized thermonuclear bursts from accreting magnetic white dwarfs" has been published in the journal Nature.

Astronomers just found a new type of 'thermonuclear burst' from stars 01 | TweakTown.com

Astronomers have used NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), and European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (ESO's VLT) to observe a new kind of stellar explosion, dubbed a micronova. They are extremely powerful events but still significantly less energetic than conventional stellar explosions, known as novae. They last only several hours and can burn through about 20,000,000 trillion kilograms, or 3.5 billion Great Pyramids of Giza, worth of stellar material.

"We have discovered and identified for the first time what we are calling a micronova. The phenomenon challenges our understanding of how thermonuclear explosions in stars occur. We thought we knew this, but this discovery proposes a totally new way to achieve them," explained Simone Scaringi, an astronomer at Durham University in the U.K. who led the study.

The research team has observed three micronovae so far, two of which were from known white dwarf stars from the TESS survey. The third required help from the ESO's VLT X-shooter instrument, which led to the confirmation of a third white dwarf.

You can read more from the study here.

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NEWS SOURCES:phys.org, doi.org

Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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