Two images of Nova Cygni 1992 taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. (Credit: F. Paresce, R. Jedrzejewski (STScI), NASA/ESA}
Led by the University of York, UK, and Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and the Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, Spain, their findings have been reported in the journal Physical Review Letters.
Dr Alison Laird, from the University of York's Department of Physics, said: "The explosion is fundamentally driven by nuclear processes. The radiation related to the decay of isotopes -- in particular that from an isotope of fluorine -- is actively being sought by current and future gamma ray observing satellite missions as it provides direct insight into the explosion.
"However, to be interpreted correctly, the nuclear reaction rates involved in the production of the fluorine isotope must be known. We have demonstrated that previous assumptions about key nuclear properties are incorrect and have improved."