24 November 2020
Astronomers are always making new discoveries. Sometimes, discoveries are made that change what scientists thought they knew!
An international team of astronomers using the Gemini North’s telescope have discovered that CK Vulpeculae is approximately five times farther away than astronomers previously thought!
CK Vulpeculae was first seen as a bright new star that exploded into view in 1670. This makes the 1670 explosion of CK Vulpeculae much more energetic than scientists previously believed.
This has led to many new questions about what type of explosion took place. Astronomers believe the burst was too faint to be a supernova, which is a giant explosion that takes place when a massive star dies.
When the French monk Anthelme Voituret saw this bright new star flare into life over 350 years ago, the star became almost as bright as the North Star! It was monitored by some of the leading astronomers of the day before it faded from view after a year.