"Light Echo" Illuminates Dust Around Supergiant Star V838 Monocerotis (V838 Mon)
NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)
By Francesca Trianni
June 14, 2014

Ever wonder what an exploding star looks like?

NASA has released this incredible time lapse video showing the enormous explosion of a red star called V838 Monocerotis, located some 20,000 light years away.

The breathtaking images were captured by NASA’s Hubble telescope over a four-year period.

What makes this starburst even more fascinating is that its origins remains a puzzle, as scientists still don’t fully understand why the explosion occurred. Initially, astronomers thought it was a nova – which is a relatively more common outburst – but more recently, they came to the realization that it was something quite different.

“The outburst may represent a transitory stage in a star’s evolution that is rarely seen,” says the Hubble website. “The star has some similarities to highly unstable aging stars called eruptive variables, which suddenly and unpredictably increase in brightness.”

 

 

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