MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Animation of a nova explosion in a cataclysmic variable star. This is a system containing two stars, one a white dwarf. A white dwarf is an extremely dense remnant of a Sun-like star that has burnt all its fuel. The high density of the dwarf causes it to accrete material, mostly hydrogen, from its companion star. This forms a growing layer on the dwarf surface. When this layer reaches a critical density and temperature, fusion reactions occur in an explosive event, rapidly and dramatically increasing the brightness of the system for a short time. The explosion does not destroy the star, which goes back to accumulating infalling matter again.
Model release not required. Property release not required.
Contact us if you require the original or other formats.