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V745 Sco: Two stars, three dimensions, and oodles of energy

Bringing some of the mysteries of the universe a little closer to home.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:32 pm

For decades, astronomers have known about irregular outbursts from the double star system V745 Sco, which is located about 25,000 light years from Earth. Astronomers were caught by surprise when previous outbursts from this system were seen in 1937 and 1989. When the system erupted on February 6, 2014, however, scientists were ready to observe the event with a suite of telescopes including NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

V745 Sco is a binary star system that consists of a red giant star and a white dwarf locked together by gravity. These two stellar objects orbit so closely around one another that the outer layers of the red giant are pulled away by the intense gravitational force of the white dwarf. This material gradually falls onto the surface of the white dwarf. Over time, enough material may accumulate on the white dwarf to trigger a colossal thermonuclear explosion, causing a dramatic brightening of the binary called a nova. Astronomers saw V745 Sco fade by a factor of a thousand in optical light over the course of about 9 days.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:33 pm

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Credit: Chandra X-ray Center

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:34 pm



For decades, astronomers have known about irregular outbursts from the double star system V745 Sco, which is located about 25,000 light years from Earth.

 
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