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South African astronomers at the South African Astronomical Observatory have discovered one of the brightest novas ever observed.

According to PhD student at SAAO and UCT, Elias Aydi, a nova is an astronomical event when a dead star, called a 'white dwarf' pulls material from the companion star onto its surface and the pressure increases through time.

When the pressure reaches a critical limit, there is a nuclear eruption that takes place on the surface of that star, which is equivalent to a million hydrogen bombs. The brightness of the star increases dramatically, making it look like a new star in the night sky, and that is called a nova - a new star.

It was discovered in a different galaxy from our own milkyway - a neighbouring galaxy at around 200 000 light years away from us.

Elias Aydi, PhD student at SAAO and UCT

What is interesting is that the eruption that took place was very energetic, it was very bright. It is the brightest ever discovered. It was first detected by a robotic telescope in Argentina that monitors the night sky automatically

Elias Aydi, PhD student at SAAO and UCT

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