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A nova is an explosion from the surface of a white-dwarf star in a binary system. A nova occurs when the white dwarf, which is the dense core of a once-normal star, “steals” gas from its nearby companion star. When enough gas builts up on the surface of the white dwarf it triggers a thermonuclear explosion. For a brief time, the system can shine up to a million times brighter than normal. As long as it continues to take gas from its companion star, the white dwarf can produce nova outbursts at regular intervals.

Radio Programs

Micronovae Small big blasts from a star September 8, 2022

Overdue Eruption A tardy stellar outburst July 13, 2022

Bright Merger A brilliant lightshow from a pair of stars January 6, 2022

Setting the Stage Setting the stage for a big outburst May 1, 2021

T Pyxidis A star that’s not a good neighbor April 14, 2021

Novas Brief renewals for dead stars April 13, 2021

Blowing Off Steam A star that likes to blow off steam August 5, 2020

Nova Vulpecula A star destroys its companion June 20, 2020

Making Lithium Making an important element August 30, 2018

Future Blast A future blast from a galactic neighbor October 27, 2017

Future Fireworks Getting ready for some fireworks June 29, 2017

Red Nova An exploding star turns red June 28, 2017

Featured Images

Nova Vulpecula

Deadly Hourglass June 20, 2020

Ultraviolet views of Z Camelopardalis, an erupting binary system

Popping Off October 22, 2016

Red Beacon September 3, 2015