Tag Archives: NASA Images

And Suddenly …


Nothing really seems quite super important anymore, does it?

Light Echoes from V838 Mon

What caused this outburst of V838 Mon? For reasons unknown, star V838 Mon’s outer surface suddenly greatly expanded with the result that it became the brightest star in the entire Milky Way Galaxy in January 2002. Then, just as suddenly, it faded. A stellar flash like this had never been seen before — supernovas and novas expel matter out into space. Although the V838 Mon flash appears to expel material into space, what is seen in the above image from the Hubble Space Telescope is actually an outwardly moving light echo of the bright flash.

In a light echo, light from the flash is reflected by successively more distant rings in the complex array of ambient interstellar dust that already surrounded the star. V838 Mon lies about 20,000 light years away toward the constellation of the unicorn (Monoceros), while the light echo above spans about six light years in diameter.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA

It doesn’t matter that this happened 11 years ago. All that matters to me is that it did happen, and as quick as it happened, it was over. Life is like that, even if you’re the brightest star in the Milky Way… because now she’s not the brightest star anymore. Enjoy it while it lasts, huh?

All my concerns have faded into the background. It would be nice if they stayed there…


Thank you.