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Light echoes around V838 Monocerotis star

Light echoes around V838 Monocerotis star

R730/0083

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Credit

NASA / ESA / STSCI / H.BOND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / ESA / STSCI / H.BOND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Light echoes around the star V838 Monocerotis, Hubble Space Telescope image. This star underwent a massive brightening, or nova, in 2002. Since then, the light released by this event has illuminated a series of shells of gas and dust that surrounded the star. The shells are thought to have been formed by ejections from the star in its past. The 2002 nova is unusual in that the star's outer layers were not ejected in the event, it merely grew enormously in size. Studying the shells may increase understanding of the star's behaviour. V838 Monocerotis lies around 20,000 light years from Earth in the constellation Monoceros. Image taken on 23rd October 2004.

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