View Full Version : Discussion: Hubble Watches Star Erupt

2003-Jul-20, 07:53 AM
SUMMARY: A recent set of images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope show a dull star that suddenly became 600,000 times brighter. The star, called V838 Monocerotis, is located 20,000 light-years from Earth and astronomers are unsure exactly why it flared up so brightly temporarily becoming the brightest star in the Milky Way. The outburst was similar to a nova, but unlike this fairly common occurrence, V838 didn't slough off its outer layers.

Comments or questions about this story? Feel free to share your thoughts.

2003-Jul-21, 02:23 AM
Damn that would have been an amazing thing to see!

Can you imagine sitting outside one night looking up at the stars and seeing a star go nova before your very eyes????

That's one thing I hope to see before I die. I think my odds are pretty good. Let's see ...

well... there's about 4 supernovae every 1000 years. say hundred years for the average lifespan (I plan on living a while). Being generous, I'd spend ten nights or less outside just staring at the stars. 10 days is about 0.03 of a year = 0.03 in a hundred years. using a probability equation ... P(%) = (100*(kt)^n*e^-kt)/n!
P = 26% in one life time .. now to take the 10 days into account .. i'd say ... NOT BLOODY LIKELY!

2003-Jul-21, 03:54 AM
There's actually a supernova going off once a second in the Universe. You just need a big telescope to see them.

2003-Jul-21, 07:13 AM
I thought when a star goes supernova it outshines the rest of the universe by an order of magnitude for a fraction of a second. Why then can't we see them popping off everynight?

2003-Jul-21, 10:00 AM
There's a difference between brightness and apparent brightness (which takes distance into account). This is why we can't see them constantly exploding everynight.