After 45 years of peaceful bliss, the nova T Pyxidis erupted again in 2011.
Astronomers took advantage of a flash of light accompanying the blast to
map the ejecta from previous outbursts surrounding the double-star system.
The team used NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to trace the light as it
sequentially illuminated different parts of the disk, a phenomenon called
a light echo. Contrary to some predictions, the astronomers were somewhat
surprised to find that the ejecta stayed in the vicinity of the star and
formed a disk of debris. The discovery suggests that material continues
expanding outward along the system’s orbital plane, but it does not
escape the system.
Powered by WPeMatico