A stellar explosion will create a “new star” in the night sky

(CNN) — According to NASA, astronomers expect a “new star” to appear in the night sky any time between now and September, and it promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical sight.

The long-awaited stellar event, known as a nova, will occur in the Milky Way’s Corona Borealis or Northern Crown constellation, located between the constellations Bootes and Hercules.

While a supernova is the explosive death of a massive star, nova refers to the brief, sudden explosion of a collapsed star known as a white dwarf.

T Corona Borealis, also known as the “Blaze Star”, Corona Borealis is a binary system consisting of a dead white dwarf star and an aging red giant star. Red giants form when stars exhaust their supply of hydrogen for nuclear fusion and begin to die. In about 5 to 6 billion years, our Sun will become a red giant, swelling and expanding as it sheds layers of material and possibly vaporizing the Solar System’s inner planets, although Earth’s fate is unclear. According to NASA.

Approximately every 79 years, T Coronae Borealis experiences an explosive event.

The stars in the orbiting pair are close enough to each other to interact violently. Over time the red giant star becomes more unstable as it heats up, causing its outer layers to fall off as material that lands on the white dwarf star.

According to the space agency, the exchange of matter causes the white dwarf’s atmosphere to gradually heat up until it undergoes a “thermonuclear runaway reaction”, resulting in a nova as shown in the animation below. Have been seen in.

NASA Scientific Visualization Studio

watching the changing sky

T Coronae Borealis last suffered an explosive outburst in 1946, and astronomers are once again keeping a close eye on the star system.

Director of NASA’s Meteorite Environment Office, William J. “Most novae occur unexpectedly, without warning,” Cook said in an email. “However, T Coronae Borealis is one of 10 recurring novae in the galaxy. We know from the last outburst in 1946 that the star will remain dim for more than a year before rapidly increasing in brightness. T. coronae borealis began to fade in March last year, so some researchers expect it to become new between now and September. “But there are months of uncertainty as to when that will happen, this is what we know so far.”

The star system, located 3,000 light years from Earth and generally too faint to be seen with the naked eye, is expected to reach brightness levels similar to Polaris or the North Star.

Once the nova reaches its maximum brightness, it will be as if a new star has appeared, visible for a few days without any instruments and for just over a week through a telescope, Before it faded and disappeared from view for about 80 years. ,

The nova will appear in a small arc between the constellations Boötes and Hercules and will be visible from the Northern Hemisphere.

The nova is expected to be visible in the Corona Borealis constellation, also known as the Northern Corona.  (pot)

The nova is expected to be visible in the Corona Borealis constellation, also known as the Northern Corona. (pot)

Astronomers will observe the nova using the Hubble Space Telescope and will study the astronomical phenomenon through X-ray and ultraviolet light using the space-based Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory.

“Studying recurring novae like T Corona Borealis helps us understand the mass transfer between stars in these systems and the thermonuclear runaway that occurs on the surface of a white dwarf when the star goes nova,” he said. Information is available.” Cook said.

The NASAUniverse account on X, formerly known as Twitter, will provide updates on the explosion and its appearance.

Cook recalled that the last nova he observed, Nova Cygni in 1975, had a brightness similar to that expected from T Corona Borealis. Nova Cygni is not expected to have another eruption.

“I was a teenage astronomy buff about to start college and I was out on the night of August 29,” Cook said. “Looking at the sky, I noticed that the Cygnus constellation was out of order: there was a star that should not have been there. After enduring a few comments from friends who thought I was crazy, I asked them to take a look and realized we were looking at a nova. It was a very memorable experience and solidified my choice of astronomy as a career. “I used to joke that it would take a star to explode to decide to pursue graduate study in physics.”

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