Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2021 June 7
Explanation: What’s that new spot of light in Cassiopeia? A nova. Although novas occur frequently throughout the universe, this nova, known as Nova Cas 2021 or V1405 Cas, became so unusually bright in the skies of Earth last month that it was visible to the unaided eye. Nova Cas 2021 remained quite bright for about a week, then faded, but now is slightly brightening again. It remains visible today through binoculars. Identified by the arrow, the nova occurred toward the constellation of Cassiopeia, not far from the Bubble Nebula. A nova is typically caused by a thermonuclear explosion on the surface of a white dwarf star that is accreting matter from a binary-star companion -- although details of this outburst are currently unknown. Novas don't destroy the underlying star, and are sometimes seen to recur. The featured image was created from 14 hours of imaging from Detroit, Michigan, USA. Both professional and amateur astronomers will likely continue to monitor Nova Cas 2021 and hypothesize about details of its cause.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.