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Science: 

NASA captures an exploding star on camera

hubble-star-body

‘Exploding star’ time-lapse captured over four years

Have you ever seen an exploding star? Neither have we – not until now at least.

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured this amazing sighting over the course of four years and then published the time-lapse video. The technical term for what we call an enormous star collision is actually “light echo.”

What caused this unique episode? We don’t know for sure. According to NASA, “for reasons unknown, star V838 Mon’s outer surface suddenly greatly expanded with the result that it became the brightest star in the entire Milky Way Galaxy in January 2002, and then, just as suddenly, it faded.”

An event like this has never been recorded before – supernovas and novas expel matter out into space, according to NASA. While the V838 Mon flash looks like it ejects material into space, what the video actually captures is an outwardly moving “light echo” of the bright flash.

“In a light echo, light from the flash is reflected by successively more distant rings in the complex array of ambient interstellar dust that already surrounded the star,” NASA commented. “V838 Mon lies about 20,000 light years away toward the constellation of the unicorn (Monoceros), while the light echo above spans about six light years in diameter.”

Just to give you some context here, the sun is eight light minutes away from the earth, Pluto is approximately nine light days away from us and this explosion is six light years across.

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