Artist's impression of a micronova
Artist's impression of a micronova

A micronova is a type of thermonuclear explosion on the surface of a white dwarf much smaller than the strength of a nova; being about 1×1039 ergs (1.0×10−12 foe; 1.0×1032 J) in strength, about a millionth that of a typical nova. The phenomenon was first described in April 2022.[1][2][3]

History

A team led by Durham University researchers announced on 20 April 2022 that they identified three micronovae using data from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).[4]

The phenomenon had previously been observed in the white dwarf binary TV Columbae using data from the International Ultraviolet Explorer.[5] However the data was not sufficient to infer the physical mechanism behind the explosion.

References

  1. ^ S. Scaringi; P.J. Groot; C.Knigge; J.-P. Lasota; D. de Martino; Y. Cavecchi; D.A.H. Buckley; M.E. Camisassa (19 April 2022). "Triggering micronovae through magnetically confined accretion flows in accreting white dwarfs". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters. 514: L11–L15. arXiv:2204.09073. doi:10.1093/mnrasl/slac042.
  2. ^ S. Scaringi; P. J. Groot; C. Knigge; A. J. Bird; E. Breedt; D. A. H. Buckley; Y. Cavecchi; N. D. Degenaar; D. de Martino; C. Done; M. Fratta; K. Iłkiewicz; E. Koerding; J.-P. Lasota; C. Littlefield; C. F. Manara; M. O’Brien; P. Szkody; F. X. Timmes (20 April 2022). "Localized thermonuclear bursts from accreting magnetic white dwarfs". Nature. 604 (7906): 447–450. arXiv:2204.09070. Bibcode:2022Natur.604..447S. doi:10.1038/s41586-022-04495-6. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 35444319. S2CID 248266728.
  3. ^ Ouellette, Jennifer (20 April 2022). "Meet the micronova: Astronomers discovered new type of stellar explosion". Ars Technica.
  4. ^ Kizer Whitt, Kelly (25 April 2022). "Micronovas are new! They're small, but mighty". EarthSky.
  5. ^ Szkody, P.; Mateo, M. (1984). "An unprecedented UV/optical flare in TV Columbae". The Astrophysical Journal. 280: 729. doi:10.1086/162045. ISSN 0004-637X.

See also