RS Oph results

Back in February, a star named RS Ophiuchi (pronounced "R S off-you-ki") suddenly got brighter. When things like this happen astronomers get interested because by watching it happens they can try to work out the physics of the object.

Stars that brighten and dim are known as nova (a supernova is a very large increase in brightness when a large star explodes at the end of its life) and it turns out that RS Ophiuchi is what is known as a recurrent nova. It has had outbursts recorded in 1898, 1933, 1958, 1967, and 1985 so it was about time for another. The latest outburst has been pretty exciting because technology has moved on in the past 20 years and we can now observe the change in the object with several different types of telescope at the same time; radio, optical, x-ray etc.

Dr Tim O'Brien describes some of the recent observations (15.6 MB) that have been made of RS Opiuchi on the latest issue of the Jodcast. He also has a paper in Nature which can also be read for free on astro-ph.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Tuesday 08th Aug 2006 (12:19 CEST) | Permalink
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