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V838 Monocerotis

In January 2002 the star increased its brightness and became for 15 minutes 600 000 times brighter than our Sun. Indeed it wasn't a nova. One theory says that it suddenly swallowed three of its planets.
Another possibility is that it's a double star of two interacting red giants. The star still is very mysterious.

Constellation: Monoceros
Distance: 20 000 light-years
Spectral class: M
Visual magnitude: 16 - 6.6 at maximum
Luminosity: circa 400 * Sun
Diameter: circa 1000 * Sun

Back: List of Special Stars part 2
    V838 Monocerotis
Photo: Nasa, Hubble Telescope

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