‘Once in a lifetime’ nova explosion appears to add new star to night sky in dazzling display: NASA

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Scientists around the world are eagerly awaiting a cosmic nova event that will add a “new star” to the night sky, according to NASA.

The scene is so bright that it is visible to the naked eye.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event that creates a lot of new astronomers, giving young people a cosmic event where they can observe for themselves, ask their own questions and collect their own data.” Dr. Rebecca Hounsell saidis an assistant research scientist specializing in novae events at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Scientists expect the nova to happen between now and September. NASA.gov

“It will fuel the next generation of scientists,” he added.

T Coronae Borealis – nicknamed the “Blaze Star” and known to astronomers as “T CrB” – is a small binary star system located between the constellations Boötes and Hercules in the northern corona of the Milky Way, about 3,000 light-years from Earth.

It consists of a white dwarf — a dead star only about the size of Earth but with an incredible mass that matches that of our Sun — that, according to NASA, is slowly ripping hydrogen from an ancient red giant.

About once every 80 years, hydrogen from the red giant builds up on the surface of the white dwarf, and eventually triggers a terrifying thermonuclear explosion that spits the hydrogen back into space in a spectacular light show.

A light show appears to observers on Earth as a new star appears in the sky.

The last nova at T CrB was in 1946. The first sighting was recorded 800 years ago by an Abbot in Germany who saw “a dim star which for a time shone with great light”.

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Space map
“T CrB” is a small binary star system located in the northern corona of the Milky Way, about 3,000 light-years from Earth. NASA.gov

“There are some persistent novae with very short cycles, but in general, we don’t see repeated explosions very often in human lifetimes, and rarely one so close to our own system,” Hounsell said. “It’s incredibly exciting to have this front-row seat.”

A nova event should not be confused with the well-known “supernova,” when a massive star explodes dramatically at the end of its life and destroys itself, Hounsell said. In a nova, the dwarf star remains intact but shoots off into space in a blinding flash of accreted material.

For a short week, stargazers will be able to see the eruption with the naked eye, which he hopes will amaze viewers around the world.

At its peak, a new star will appear.

Although the nova could occur as soon as September, the binary system has recently shown behavior similar to that seen before the 1946 event – ​​leading researchers predict it will occur in late summer or shortly thereafter.




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