A nova is a star that suddenly becomes tens to hundreds of times brighter, then fades to its former brightness in just a few months. In these nova systems, a white dwarf -- the compact remains of a Sun-like star that has burned all of its fuel -- pulls material from a nearby companion star until enough accumulates to trigger a thermonuclear explosion on the white dwarf's surface. This 3D model of such a nova outburst of an object called U Scorpii is based on a scientific simulation, informed by observations. This printable file was created by the Chandra team from the 3D model. The red giant is visible as the sphere at the side-center of the print; the white dwarf (where the explosion happened) is too small to be visible but would be tucked inside at the very center of the model. The structure around the edges was material ejected during the outburst. Support structures were required, and removed after printing by using a dissolvable substrate with minimal hand-cleaning required.
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