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No. 49: Jan-Feb 1987

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Recent explosion on sirius?

Speaking of transient events, such as the optical bursters (above), the apparent recent color change of Sirius is now receiving theoretical attention. (See SF#43.) Sirius seems to have been a bright red star in medieval times, whereas now it shines with bluish-white light. The latest theory is that Sirius B recently experienced a thermonuclear runaway event.

(Bruhweiler, Frederick C., et al; "The Historical Record for Sirius: Evidence for a White-Dwarf Thermonuclear Runaway?" Nature, 324:235, 1986.)

Comment. Such an event should have been visible from earth, but we know of no such observation on record.

From Science Frontiers #49, JAN-FEB 1987. 1987-2000 William R. Corliss