The micronova, a miniature star explosion

DECRYPTION – European astronomers have identified extremely bright but very brief flashes of a completely new type.

The end of life of certain stars is much more chaotic than the rest of their existence. A recent study published in the journal Nature confirms this once again by bringing to light a new type of explosion which had never been observed until now and which the authors have nicely baptized “micronova”. But before explaining what exactly it is all about, let’s briefly recall how stars work.

By definition, a star is born when matter compresses to the point of triggering thermonuclear fusion reactions. A subtle balance is then set up between the forces of gravity which concentrate the matter and the thermonuclear energy released by the fusion reaction which seeks on the contrary to disperse it. From this titanic fight results a stable state which gives the stars their spherical shape: the nuclear fusions which make them burn compensate very exactly for the gravity which triggers them.

We will not go into all the details of physics here…

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