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T Pyxidis

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T Pyxidis is a curious recurrent nova whose long-term behavior is not yet well understood.  Originally observed in 1890 as a nova, it recurred a few times in the early 20th century but its recurrence time seemed to increase.  After the last outburst in 1966, many astronomers expected it to return in the mid-1980s, but that outburst never occurred, and there was suspicion that perhaps T Pyxidis' days as a recurrent nova were over.  Not so.  T Pyx was discovered in outburst on April 14, 2011, its first in over 45 years.

Shown in this light curve is the 1966 outburst, where it's clear there's some interesting structure in the outburst light curve.  The origins of these short term variations aren't clear, but AAVSO observers of today are participating in a new campaign to intensely observe T Pyx during its latest outburst.  It's possible that data from the modern outburst will help explain why T Pyx behaves the way it does.

For more information visit: /campaign-observe-t-pyx-throughout-2011-eruption
Prepared By: Matthew Templeton
AAVSO 49 Bay State Rd. Cambridge, MA 02138 aavso@aavso.org 617-354-0484