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HubbleSite Blobs in Space: The Legacy of a Nova

  • Thread starter Space Telescope Science
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Space Telescope Science

Nova eruptions by dying stars were thought to be simple, predictable acts of violence. Astronomers could point a telescope at the most recently exploded novae and see an expanding bubble of gaseous debris around each star.

Scientists using the Hubble telescope, however, were surprised to find that some nova outbursts may not produce smooth shells of gas, but thousands of gaseous blobs, each the size of our solar system. In this Hubble picture of the nova T Pyxidis, the shells of gas ejected by the star are actually more than 2,000 gaseous blobs packed into an area that is 1 light-year across.

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