Eta Carinae, a bright, variable star in the southern sky that is the most luminous known star in the Milky Way Galaxy, underwent a major eruption 145 years ago that may be the first example of a new type of stellar explosion that is much fainter than a supernova and doesn't destroy the star. UC Berkeley astronomer Nathan Smith reached this conclusion after discovering a fast-moving blast wave from the 1843 eruption.
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