Astronomers studying a binary star system about 1,800 light years from the Sun say they are increasingly confident that the two stars will merge into a luminous red nova in about five years.
At its brightest, the spectacular explosion produced by this nova could reach an apparent magnitude of about 2.0, akin to a bright star in the night sky, making it visible even from most urban areas.
The team of astronomers, led by Calvin College’s Lawrence Molnar, presented their findings late last week at the American Astronomical Society’s annual meeting in Grapevine, Texas.
The researchers have been studying the binary star system, KIC 9832227, since the year 2013, after they noticed the stars getting closer and closer together.
“The merger hypothesis has had predictive power and we currently have no alternative explanation for its timing behavior,” the authors state.
Source: Ars Technica
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