Explosive nova will create a ‘new star’ in the night sky

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By journalsofus.com

NASA/Conceptual Imaging Laboratory/Goddard Space Flight Center

A red giant star and a white dwarf orbit each other in NASA’s nova illustration.

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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 celestial sight, according to POT.

The expected brightening event, known as a nova, will occur in the Milky Way’s Corona Borealis, or Northern Crown constellation, which is located between the constellations Boötes and Hercules.

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

T Coronae Borealis, also known as “Blaze Star”, is a binary system in Corona Borealis that includes a dead white dwarf star and an aging red giant star. Red giants form when stars have exhausted 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 likely evaporating the solar system’s inner planets, although Earth’s fate remains unclear. , according to POT.

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. The red giant becomes increasingly unstable over time as it heats up, shedding its outer layers that land as matter on the white dwarf star.

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

The last time T Coronae Borealis experienced an explosive explosion was in 1946, and astronomers are once again keeping a close eye on the star system.

“Most novae occur unexpectedly, without warning,” William J. Cooke, director of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, said in an email. “However, T Coronae Borealis is one of 10 recurring novae in the galaxy. We know from the last eruption in 1946 that the star will dim for just over a year before rapidly increasing in brightness. T Coronae Borealis began to dim in March of last year, so some researchers expect it to go nova between now and September. But the uncertainty about when this will happen is several months; “There’s nothing better than that with what we know now.”

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

Once the nova reaches its maximum brightness, it will be as if a new star has appeared, one that will be visible for a few days without any equipment and just over a week with binoculars before it dims and disappears from view for another 80 years approximately.

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 appear in the constellation of the Corona Borealis, also known as the Northern Corona.

Astronomers will observe the nova using the Hubble Space Telescope and study the celestial event through X-rays and ultraviolet light using the space-based Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory.

“The study of recurring novae like T Coronae Borealis helps us understand mass transfer between stars in these systems and provides information about the thermonuclear leak that occurs on the surface of the white dwarf when the star goes nova,” Cooke said.

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

Cooke recalled that the last nova he witnessed, Nova Cygni in 1975, had a brightness similar to that expected from T Coronae Borealis. Nova Cygni is not expected to experience another explosion.

“I was a teenage astronomy fanatic about to start college and I was out and about on the night of August 29,” Cooke said. “Looking up at the sky, I noticed that the constellation Cygnus was in disarray; There was a star that shouldn’t be there. After enduring some comments from friends who thought I was crazy, I asked them to look and realized we were looking at a nova. It was a very memorable experience and reinforced my choice of astronomy as a career. “I used to joke that a star had to explode for me to suffer through my physics studies.”

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