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Caption: This is an artist's conception of a binary star system that produces recurrent novae and, ultimately, the supernova PTF 11kx. A red giant star (foreground) loses some of its outer layers through a stellar wind, and some of it forms a disk around a companion white dwarf star. This material falls onto the white dwarf, causing it to experience periodic nova eruptions every few decades. After enough mass has accumulated on the white dwarf, it explodes as a type 1a supernova. This image relates to a paper that appeared in the August 24, 2012, issue of Science, published by AAAS. The paper, by Benjamin Dilday at Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network in Goleta, Calif., and colleagues was titled, “PTF 11kx: A Type Ia Supernova with a Symbiotic Nova Progenitor.”
Credit: [Image courtesy of Romano Corradi and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias]
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