Make a note on the calendar: in 2022, a rare “red supernova” will appear in the sky in accordance with an unprecedented and ultra-precise star prediction.
If astronomer Larry Molnar is right, then in about 2022 an impressive explosion will occur that already lit up the sky 1800 years ago. It will burn brightly like a new star in the constellation Cygnus. This is the first in the world forecast of a new star.
Molnar and his team from Calvin College in Michigan monitored the KIC9832227 dual star system, which can now be seen only with a telescope. The stars are located so close (about three times the distance from Earth to Sun) that, in principle, they share one atmosphere.
Based on the incredibly high speed at which they rotate around each other, astronomers predict that objects are moving closer. Computer models demonstrate that the pair will merge and explode in about 5 years, creating a bright and rare red new star. It can be seen in the night sky. In fact, since KIC9832227 is located 1800 light years from Earth, the explosion has already occurred. Light reaches the target for 186,000 miles per second, so Molnar did the right calculations.
They began to hunt for the contact of a double star after in 2008 Hubble got the image of a red new one. Archival data showed control curves for a double star that no longer exists today.
“We have seen that the period of the star over time became less. And this means that it twisted in a spiral inward and became shorter, increasing the pace. I wanted to find the next object before it explodes, ”Molnar said at the meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Texas last week.
Enter KIC9832227, which was among the thousands of stars observed by the NASA Kepler space telescope. Having heard the report on the star, the student calculated its orbital period, and then did the same, using data from the archive, starting in 1999. It turned out that the numbers diverge.
“He noticed that the orbital period was shrinking,” comments Molnar. The team then used a small remote-controlled telescope for two years in New Mexico and found that the orbital period KIC9832227 continued to shorten. This means that the stars overshadow each other faster and faster.
The speed matched the calculations for the double star that Hubble discovered in 2008.
“There are not many options in this model. It is either suitable or not, ”says Molnar.
If this trend continues, the explosion is expected in 2022 and will last about 6 months before reaching peak brightness. This is about 10,000 brighter than the indicators of the original pair. Therefore, such a spectacle is easy to observe with the naked eye.
The supernova will glow for several months, creating another star in the Northern Crossbar.
“It is accessible to all,” Molnar said. “You don't even need a telescope to tell me later if I was right or wrong.”