Researchers observed a star explode in the sky: It is not difficult to spot the glow in a night sky

Fareeha Arshad
Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

In a report published last year in ‘The Astronomer’s Telegram’, researchers explained that a star from among the Cassiopeia constellation had exploded and visibly glowed for a long time in the night sky. Most people who live in the Northern Hemisphere observed the sky glow in the dark. Such a phenomenon was first recorded in the March of 2021 by researchers in Japan who used a 135-millimetre lens and observed a bright and glowing star with 9.6 magnitude.

On further study, the researchers at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and Kyoto University concluded that the phenomenon could be classified as a classical nova, a common stellar explosion scenario. The scientists named that particular stellar explosion as V1405 Cas.

The nova explosion that we know of is not a deafening explosion but an explosion of the white dwarf with a primary sequence companion close to the orbit – about twelve hours away. When the stars move around, the smaller of the two draw hydrogen from the larger one. When hydrogen enters the atmosphere of the giant star, it starts heating up, triggering nuclear fusion that allows for a large amount of energy to be released into space. The glow of the supernova persists for a few days and then burns away over time.

Though the researchers are unsure which star gave birth to V1405 Cas, they believe that the eclipsing star CzeV3217, which lay about 5500 light years away from the solar system, is the reason behind this phenomenon. This was further proved with further investigations of the mechanism behind the underlying phenomenon. With such explosions being extremely rare, this recent discovery has truly excited the researchers to look out for more similar observations in the universe.

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I am a scientist by profession and a historian by passion. I mostly write about history and science.

Texas State

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