Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2016 November 21
See Explanation.
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Nova over Thailand
Image Credit & Copyright: Jeff Dai (TWAN)

Explanation: A nova in Sagittarius is bright enough to see with binoculars. Discovered last month by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN), the stellar explosion even approached the limit of naked-eye visibility last week. A classical nova results from a thermonuclear explosion on the surface of a white dwarf star -- a dense star having the size of our Earth but the mass of our Sun. In the featured image, the nova was captured last week above ancient Wat Mahathat in Sukhothai, Thailand. To see Nova Sagittarius 2016 yourself, just go out just after sunset and locate near the western horizon the constellation of the Archer (Sagittarius), popularly identified with an iconic teapot. Also visible near the nova is the very bright planet Venus. Donít delay, though, because not only is the nova fading, but that part of the sky is setting continually closer to sunset.

Tomorrow's picture: ocean pluto


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