Archive for June, 2011

T Pyx still rising (actually)

June 11, 2011

Hmm, okay, well, actually…

My last T Pyx update said that it was on the way back down. Almost as soon as I’d posted that, the nova’s brightness started to rise again. This is how it looked on June 11 2011.

T Pyx still rising

T Pyx (in Visual and Johnson V bands) still on the rise

Is this latest rise related to the short-term variations mentioned in the T Pyx AAVSO Light Curve of the Week summary?

Or, perhaps it has something to do with the waves of material outlined here, quoting Michael M. Shara:

“Ground-based and Hubble telescope observations have allowed Shara to reconstruct a sequence of a T Pyxidis blast. When the nova erupts, it flings waves of gaseous material at progressively slower speeds: the first wave of hot gas flies through space at 4.5 to 6.7 million mph (2,000 to 3,000 kilometers per second), the last at 446,000 to 670,000 mph (200 to 300 kilometers per second). About a few weeks after this eruption, the first waves of speedy debris collide with slow-moving fossil material from the previous outburst, possible forming the gaseous blobs. Shara observed, for example, fast-moving gas from the 1966 eruption plowing into slow-moving material from the 1944 detonation. As the speedy, newly ejected material slams into the older, plodding debris, it heats up, glows brilliantly, and slows almost to a halt. Eventually the bright material fades as it cools down.”

As I said in my initial post, it’s fascinating to watch this unfold.