Novae are explosions that happen on certain types of stars. The star gets up to a million times brighter than it was, but they are quite rare and years can go by without a nova being visible to the naked eye. Nova Centauri 2013 exploded on 2 December 2013, and was easily visible to the naked eye at its brightest. It was quite strange to see Alpha and Beta Centauri joined by a third star that's not normally there.
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