An artist's concept of the binary star system HM Sge on the black background of space sprinkled with various sizes of red and white points of light. At the top of the image a blazing hot white disk surrounds a white dwarf star that is pulling a stream of material from its red giant companion, the glowing mottled ball at bottom right.

Nova in Binary Star System HM Sagittae (Artist’s Concept)

This artist’s concept shows the nova system HM Sagittae (HM Sge), where a white dwarf star is pulling material from its red giant companion. This forms a blazing hot disk around the dwarf, which can unpredictably undergo a spontaneous thermonuclear explosion as the infall of hydrogen from the red giant grows denser and reaches a tipping point. These fireworks between companion stars are fascinating to astronomers by yielding insights into the physics and dynamics of stellar evolution in binary systems.

Credits: NASA, ESA, Leah Hustak (STScI)