A Nova Burns Out; November 1994; Scientific American Magazine; by Mukerjee; 1 Page(s)
Nova V1974 Cygni had a short, violent and public life. Exploding in February 1992, it was the brightest nova in 17 years and had by far the largest and best-equipped audience. The glowing gases it blew off evolved just as Sumner Starrfield of Arizona State University and his collaborators had predicted 20 years earlier.
Their model fit beautifully until a group led by Joachim Krautter of Heidelberg Observatory checked up on the nova with the ROSAT satellite in December 1993. The team could no longer see the x-rays coming from the underlying hot core. Inexplicably, the nova had turned off. This summer Steven N. Shore of Indiana University at South Bend and his co-workers confirmed the demise. "Honestly, I thought it would live another 10 years," Starrfield remarks.