SACKVILLE, N.B. — A New Brunswick physics professor says an astronomical discovery could give rare insight into the workings of the universe and advance the study of stellar evolution.
Catherine Lovekin, an astronomer at Mount Allison University in Sackville, assisted in the capture of the full rise and decline of a nova — an astronomical event that causes the sudden appearance of a bright new star.
Lovekin is a member of the international team that monitors the BRITE-Constellation satellites, which capture the light of the brightest stars.
She says that over 150 days, the team was able to capture the full life cycle of a nova.
"We essentially have a full life cycle of a nova now documented, that's really hard to come by," Lovekin said in a statement.
"Having this record and being able to study it will help us understand what's happening and allow us to check what we think we know about stellar evolution."
The team is made up of researchers in Canada, Austria and Poland, with Lovekin the only researcher from the Maritimes.
Since starting in 2013, the group has observed and documented more than 550 stars visible to the naked eye from the ground.
"We will be able to study and learn from this event for a long time," Lovekin said.
The Canadian Press