Naked-Eye Nova Visible in Night Sky

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A new star burst into view in the constellation Delphinus earlier this month.

The explosion of a white dwarf star created the brightest nova since 2007, Sky & Telescope reports.

A spectral analysis of the star, now known as Nova Delphini 2013, shows a pattern typical for material blasted from a type of cataclysmic binary system called a “classical nova,” NASA added.

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This type of object is the result of powerful explosions on the surface of a white dwarf star, which remains intact.

Compare that to supernova explosions, which are triggered when a white dwarf pulls just enough material from its partner star to set off a “massive thermonuclear explosion that blows the entire white dwarf to smithereens,” Sky & Telescope said in a press release.

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Nova Delphini 2013 can be seen in the eastern sky in the early evening. Sky-watchers in dark locations away from city lights should be able to see it with the unaided eye.  For more urban dwellers, binoculars may be of use.

Credit for the discovery goes to Koichi Itagaki of Yamagata, Japan, who took a picture of the nova on Aug. 14. It was not present in a picture he took the previous day.

Image credit: Sky & Telescope

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