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Monday, 16 August 2021

An exploding star in the southern sky!

It was just clear enough tonight (once the Moon had set!) to see the star RS-Ophiuchi. This is an unusual recurrent nova: it explodes into sudden brightness every 15 to 20 years. The reason appears to be that it 'sucks' hydrogen from its binary partner: once its mass has increased sufficiently, it flares up many times brighter and larger, before shrinking back to its original state. I could see the nova with the naked eye, but it was easier to locate with binoculars. While I was out, I had another look at Jupiter and its largest moons..

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