The most luminous white dwarf eruption ever seen

It has probably been the most luminous white dwarf eruption ever seen by astronomers at the University of Leicester using the Swif satellite observatory.

The event has been detected in the direction of one of our closest galaxies: The Small Magellanic Cloud.

Binary stars

In a narrow system of binary stars formed by a white dwarf and a companion star similar to the Sun, the material is transferred from a companion to the white dwarf, gradually increasing until reaching a critical pressure.

Using telescopes from South Africa to Australia to South America, as well as the Swift orbit observatory, a team led by the Astronomical Observatory of South Africa has revealed the call SMCN 2016-10a. As he explains Kim Page, member of the Swift team of the University of Leicester:

Swift's rapid response capability, along with its daily scheduled schedule, makes it ideal for tracking transient events, including novas. He was able to observe the nova throughout its eruption, beginning to collect X-ray data that were essential to demonstrate that the mass of the white dwarf approaches the theoretical maximum; Continuous accumulation can cause it to be totally destroyed in a supernova explosion moment.

The Small Magellanic Cloud, 200,000 light years away, is one of our closest galaxies.

Video: The eruption of the white dwarf: more luminous than astronomers have seen. (April 2020).