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Bad Astronomy Video: The Bizarre Eructation of V838 Monocerotis

Something like 20,000 light years from Earth lies a bizarre object. Dubbed V838 Monocerotis — the 838 th variable star found in the constellation Monoceros, the unicorn — it’s a luminous red star, well over 20,000 times brighter than the Sun. That’s not so unusual; lots of stars are far more luminous and redder than the Sun. It’s also centered in a cloud of material, which, again, isn’t all that odd.
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