What have we learned in the first five years?
Since its discovery as a possible "slow nova" in 1996, "Sakurai's Object" (V4334 Sgr) has generated a great deal of interest. It is now believed to be an evolved star undergoing final helium shell flash, and we have the first - a once-in-a-lifetime - opportunity to observe one of these rare events over the broad wavelength range now accessible. Moreover there have been significant developments both in the theoretical understanding of this poorly-understood (and brief) phase of stellar evolution, and in modelling the atmospheres and winds of these objects.
Thanks to Seiichiro Kiyota we have a picture of Yukio Sakurai and his telescope and the discovery image with Sakurai's Object arrowed.LINKS:
firstname.lastname@example.org 11 August 2000