The team behind the BRITE Constellationc Project, a Canada-Austria-Poland collaboration that investigates stellar structures and the evolution of stars in the sky, recently discovered a bright star with the use of nanosatellites invented at the University of Toronto.

The star was later discovered to be a nova, a massive explosion that occurs when a “small, dense star acquires mass from another closely located star.”

According to a news report released by U of T, novae are a rare occurrence, with only five to 10 observed every year.

Novas like the one identified by Rainer Kuschnig, a member of the team, are barely understood, and are “very, very important,” inventor of the nanosatellites Slavek Rucinski told U of T News. “They produce heavy elements, the material of which we are made. Solid things, our bodies, our products, everything, it’s all made up of this little leftover ‘stuff’ from massive stars.”

The BRITE team are now working on a full publication on their discovery, to be published and released in the next year.

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