Nothing illustrates how the universe can change in an instant better than a nova. A nova is a white dwarf that has accreted enough matter and energy to explode spectacularly.
UNR students were able to capture a recently exploding nova's light curve using the GBO. The student team followed nova AT2010tlu, seeking to characterize its peak light curve over a two week period. They were able to capture the light curve and track the characteristic fast rise indicating the onset of the nova to its peak, followed by the slow descent into lower magnitudes.
Alexis Tudor, a student minoring in Astronomy at UNR said about the project, "When I found out we had the opportunity to do an observing project I settled on the exciting but impractical idea of observing a transient nova. The low brightness of these novae makes them almost impossible to detect, but with the help of the GBO we were able to catch the peak of a nova and learn what it feels like to be real astronomers!"
Learn more by reading the student's research poster attached below.