A New Star Will Burst Into Sky In 2022, Astronomers Predict

Posted: Jan 6 2017, 10:56pm CST | by , Updated: Jan 6 2017, 10:58pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

A New Star will Burst into Sky in 2022, Astronomers Predict
Credit: Calvin College
 

Astronomers predict that two stars in a binary system will collide violently and create a red nova in five years from now

In 2022, we could witness a pair of star colliding and lighting up the night skies.

Calvin College professor Larry Molnar, his colleagues and students have made an unprecedented prediction of a star explosion within the next five years. According to them, a binary star is due to collide sometimes in 2022. It will result in a red nova that will make night skies 10,000 times brighter than usual, adding a temporary new star in the sky in the universe. The explosion will be visible naked eye.

The binary star, called KIC 9832227, lies in the Cygnus constellation about 1,800 light years away from Earth. One of the binary stars is about 40 percent larger than the sun, while the other is just one-third the size of sun. Discovered more than a decade ago, the two stars are orbiting each other so tightly that are bound to crash into one another. 

Molnar has been studying the pair of star since 2013 and has confirmed that the object was a binary, not a pulsating star as originally thought. Further observations suggest that the two stars are getting closer and closer and will eventually merge. Their orbital period is currently just under 11 hours and as that period is getting shorter, the distance between the stars is becoming smaller.

“From there Dan determined a precise orbital period from Kinemuchi’s Kepler satellite data (just under 11 hours) and was surprised to discover that the period was slightly less than that shown by earlier data” Molnar said in a statement

The prediction was originally made in 2015 but its basis was unknown. Astronomers were unable to catch their first glimpse of a contact binary star merging until 2008, when a star called V1309 Scorpii exploded. Researchers found that KIC 9832227 binary star is also showing similar characteristics as seen in 2008 merger.  Their latest calculations suggest that if binary star continues to follow the same trend as V1309 Scorpii, it will burst into a red nova around the year 2022.

“It’s a one-in-a-million chance that you can predict an explosion,” Larry Molnar said of his red nova prognostication. “It’s never been done before.”

Researchers will continue to observe KIC 9832227 over the coming years using the Very Large Array, the Infrared Telescope Facility, and the XMM-Newton spacecraft to study the star’s radio, infrared and X-ray emission, respectively.

Matt Walhout, dean for research and scholarship at Calvin College. “If Larry’s prediction is correct, his project will demonstrate for the first time that astronomers can catch certain binary stars in the act of dying, and that they can track the last few years of a stellar death spiral up to the point of final, dramatic explosion.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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