How to detonate a white dwarf star #space


Via Motherboard.

“Giant cosmic fireball” isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when considering a white dwarf. These small, dense stars are fossils left over from the supernovae of larger main-sequence stars, and they usually spend their post-explosion years slowly wilting into black dwarfs.

But some white dwarfs get a second chance to shine, and astronomers based out of Georgia State University were able to capture this rare event—called a nova—in unprecedented detail. Their study, led by Gail Schaefer and published in Nature today, includes the first images ever taken of the early “fireball stage” of novae, revealing the never-before-seen dynamics of these explosions.

The nova the team imaged is called Nova Delphini 2013, and it’s located about 14,800 light years away in the constellation Delphinus. It was discovered on August 14, 2013 by amateur astronomer Koichi Itagak, and was widely observed as it brightened, reaching a peak magnitude of 4.3 on August 16—bright enough to be seen with the naked eye.

As soon as they caught wind of the discovery, Schaefer and her colleagues trained GSU’s array of telescopes at the Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy (CHARA) towards the nova. “We began with an intensive observing campaign to measure the size of the nova with the CHARA Array,” the authors wrote in the study.

“Our observations began within 15 hours of the discovery and within 24 hours of the detonation itself,” they continued. “We measured the size of the expanding ejecta as the nova rose to peak brightness and continued monitoring it for a total of 27 nights between August 15 2013 to September 26.”

The quick reaction time enabled the team to capture an unprecedented glimpse into the expanding fireball stage of a nova explosion. The nova itself was triggered by the white dwarf accumulating hydrogen gas runoff from a normal, main-sequence companion star. Though its hydrogen shell was only about 650 feet deep, the monumental surface gravity of the white dwarf was enough to kickstart thermonuclear fusion in the shell’s lower layers.

That’s the cosmic equivalent of throwing a lit match into a vat of gasoline. True to form, it detonated the white dwarf in a violent fireball that expanded for weeks. When the team first began observing, the star had expanded to about the size of Earth’s orbit. By the time they ceased observations, it had steadily grown to the size of Neptune’s orbit.

Read more.

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here:

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.