Brightest stellar beacons of the constellation Centaurus,
Alpha and Beta
Centauri are easy to spot from the southern hemisphere.
For now, so is new naked eye
Nova Centauri 2013.
In this night skyscape recorded near Las Campanas Observatory in
the Chilean southern Atacama desert on December 5,
the new star joins the old in the expansive constellation,
seen at early morning hours through a
Caught by nova hunter
John Seach from Australia on December 2
as it approached near naked eye
brightness, Nova Cen 2013
has been spectroscopically
identified as a classical nova, an interacting binary star system
composed of a dense, hot white dwarf and cool, giant companion.
Material from the companion star builds up as it
falls onto the white dwarf's surface triggering a thermonuclear event.
results in a drastic increase in brightness
and an expanding shell of debris.
The stars are not destroyed, though.
Classical novae are thought to recur when
the flow of material onto the white dwarf
eventually resumes and produces another outburst.
(Las Campanas Observatory,