V838, Hubble images


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English: In January 2002, a dull star in an obscure constellation suddenly became 600,000 times more luminous than our Sun, temporarily making it the brightest star in our Milky Way galaxy. The mysterious star, called V838 Monocerotis, has long since faded back to obscurity. But observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope of a phenomenon called a "light echo" around the star have uncovered remarkable new features. These details promise to provide astronomers with a CAT-scan-like probe of the three-dimensional structure of shells of dust surrounding an aging star.
Français : Echo lumineux. Courant janvier 2002, l'étoile V838 de la Licorne (en rouge, au centre) devint brusquement 60 000 fois plus brillante que le Soleil, ce qui fit d'elle l'étoile temporairement la plus brillante de notre Voie Lactée. Dans les mois suivant, ce flash cosmique, un phénomène d'"écho lumineux", devint observable sous la forme d'anneaux concentriques autour de l'étoile. Ce phénomène permet d'etudier la structure des nuages de poussière entourant cette étoile en fin de vie.
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Date 2008 February 3
Source NASA http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap080203.html
Author NASA.gov


Public domain This file is in the public domain because it was created by NASA and ESA. Hubble material is copyright-free and may be freely used as in the public domain without fee, on the condition that NASA and ESA is credited as the source of the material. The material was created for NASA by Space Telescope Science Institute and for ESA by the Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre under Contract NAS5-26555. Copyright statement at hubblesite.org or copyright statement at spacetelescope.org.
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