Powerful superflares discovered erupting from superdense stellar corpse

A visualization of a superflare on the recurrent nova v2487 Oph. (Image credit: LSU Prof. Robert Hynes, with his BinSim program)

A rare type of white dwarf star has been erupting in the most extreme superflares of its kind ever seen, researchers find in a new study.

The star in question, known as V2487 Oph, is what astronomers call a recurrent nova. A rare type of variable star, these objects are white dwarfs, or superdense dead  stars, that occasionally steal material from a nearby star in a binary system. These thefts cause the white dwarf to briefly “come back to life” and appear bright for up to weeks or even months at a time.