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Get Ready To See a Sky Explosion That Only Happens Once Every 80 Years

Get Ready To See a Sky Explosion That Only Happens Once Every 80 Years

Every 80 years, the heavens give us a rare gift: a spectacular explosion called a nova that outshines everything else. Cosmic wonders. This celestial fireworks show occurs when a White Dwarf The star bursts forth, its brightness increases ten thousand times. Even with the naked eye, we can enjoy its glory from millions of miles away, and another show is about to begin very soon. NASA scientists and astronomers are patiently waiting to see it, just as we are. solar eclipse And Aurora Borealis In the last few years.

In a nova event, a white dwarf star pulls solar material from a nearby red giant. When this heat and pressure become too high, the result is a thermonuclear explosion. This makes the white dwarf appear bright in the sky, but it does not explode, and once the explosion is over, the star returns to its original brightness. That massive explosion is a nova.

A nova can be seen with the naked eye for up to a week after it occurs. For this period, it seems that a new star has appeared in the sky. According to NASA, the explosion could happen anytime, day or night, between now and September, although scientists say it could take longer.

This Video from NASA Shows what it looks like.

The last one from this star system was in 1946.

The cosmic light show is courtesy of T Coronae Borealis, also known as the Blaze Star or T CrB. It is a binary star system consisting of a white dwarf and an ancient red giant about 3,000 light-years from Earth in the northern crown of the Milky Way. It is part of the Corona Borealis constellation that forms a distinctive feature in the sky, mainly during the summer months.

A white dwarf, the dead remnant of a star, is about the same mass as the Earth but has the same mass as the Sun. Meanwhile, an aging red giant is a dying star that is shedding material into space. The strong gravitational pull of the white dwarf is pulling in material ejected from the red giant. Once the white dwarf has accumulated enough material, the heat builds up enough to cause a thermonuclear reaction. This explosion is called a nova.

The first nova in this star system occurred in 1946. It's a cycle that's been going on since it was first discovered 800 years ago.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime event that will create many new astronomers out there, giving young people a cosmic event that they can observe for themselves, ask their questions, and collect their own data. can.” said Dr. Rebecca Honsel, Assistant Research Scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. “It will fuel the next generation of scientists.”

Where is Corona Borealis?

You're probably not as familiar with the corona borealis as you are with constellations that are easier to spot, like the Big Dipper. Difficult to find in the night sky unless it is clear. Light pollution from big cities can also make it difficult to find.

NASA says the easiest way to find the Corona Borealis is to look for Vega and Arcturus, the two brightest stars in the Northern Hemisphere. (Skygazing apps Your phone can help with that.) From there, you can basically draw an imaginary line between the two. Corona Borealis is roughly in the middle. You can use the graphic below to see what we mean.

This NASA image shows the constellations in the night sky. This NASA image shows the constellations in the night sky.

The nova will be near the constellation Hercules and between Vega and Arcturus in the constellation Corona Borealis.

NASA

Alternatively, you can also look for the constellation Hercules, and the Corona Borealis will be very close to it. Remember that you can't see the star in question until the nova pops, so if you look at the sky before it happens, you won't see where the nova is. will

When will the nova happen?

No one knows for sure. All astronomers and scientists know is that a nova is about to explode at any moment. Most of them agree that the nova should happen sometime before around September, although it could be longer.

Because a nova can occur at any moment, NASA is relying on citizen astronomers and space enthusiasts to call when a nova occurs.

“Using social media and email, (observers) will send immediate alerts,” Dr. Elizabeth Hess said, Chief of the Astroparticle Physics Lab at NASA Goddard. “We are counting on this global community's interaction with T CrB again.”

Early detection could also help NASA collect more data about the event to better understand its mechanics.

“We will observe the nova event at its peak and its decay, as the visible energy of the outburst dissipates,” Honsel said. “But it's just as important to get data during the initial peak of the eruption — so data collected now by those avid citizen scientists looking for novae will contribute dramatically to our findings.”

Will I need binoculars to see the nova?

No. NASA says the nova will be visible to the naked eye on a clear night.

However, it is important to know what to look for. Nova will not look like an explosion like you see in Michael Bay movies. It will look like another star in the sky that wasn't there before.

It will also be quite bright, so it should be quite noticeable. Those with binoculars and binoculars will surely have a better view.

What is the difference between a nova and a supernova?

Most people have heard the term “supernova”. As it darkens, the star dies. However, this final death gasp is also the largest explosion ever seen by humans, as the star violently ejects material into space. Scientists believe that supernovae are responsible. Elements heavier than iron in the universe. Oddly enough, even the iron in your blood can be found in supernovae or similar cosmic explosions.

A nova, on the other hand, requires two stars. One star is always a white dwarf, while the other is usually a red giant.

There are other types of nova. Hypernovae are supernovae that attain a certain size and brightness. Typically, they are about 10 or more times brighter than a standard supernova. Another type, an extremely rare clonova, occurs when two neutron stars collide, releasing an incredible gravitational wave along with electromagnetic radiation.

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