Explosion from colliding stars will be visible to naked eye on Earth

The collision of two stars will cause an explosion so intense in five years that it will be visible to the naked eye down here on Earth, astronomers say.

Calvin College professor Larry Molnar predicts a binary star (two stars orbiting each other) will merge and explode in 2022, give or take a year. At that time, the single, remaining star will increase its brightness by 10,000 times and become one of the brighter stars in the heavens. The star is roughly 1,800 light-years away.

“It’s a one-in-a-million chance that you can predict an explosion,” Molnar said of his prognostication. “It’s never been done before.”
The star will be visible as part of the constellation Cygnus, and will add a star to the recognizable Northern Cross star pattern for about a year, he said.

The star — known as KIC 9832227 — came to Molnar’s attention in 2013, when he and his team discovered it was a “contact binary,” in which the two stars share a common atmosphere, much like two peanuts sharing a single shell. Further detailed observations and research determined the two stars will eventually collide in about five years.


Too bad they can’t provide a more precise time frame.
I would love to watch it appear but do not have a year off to stare at the sky.


Yeah, how do we mark that on our calendars? :rolleyes:

If Mr Molnar’s math is correct, it will be confirmed by others and possibly refined as the time approaches.

But if it explodes in five years, does that mean we won’t see it for another 1805 years, seeing as they stars are 1800 light years from earth? :whistle: :smiley: :stuck_out_tongue:

The article states that the explosion will be visible for about a year, so you don’t have to stare at the sky. We’ll tell you when to go outside and look. Just keep checking this thread for updates! :wink:

We can subtract the 1800-year wait because the prediction is based on the light now coming in, so they are actually predicting when the light from the collision will arrive. If their estimate is accurate, the collision already occurred about 1795 years ago.

Will be amazing to see.

Wow. It’s like travelling back in time… which physicists keep insisting is an impossibility. :dts:

One of the sisters in the monastery was an avid stargazer and knew all the constellations. She received permission from Mother to go outside with a few of us after Matins and point out different constellations and planets for us (this was during the time of day called the “Great Silence” which is why she needed special permission).

I remember her commenting one day during recreation that she sometimes felt sad when she looked at the stars at night, knowing that some of them were so far away, that they might have ceased to exist centuries or millennia ago (or much, much farther back). And of course, we have no way of knowing if these stars even still exist. :bighanky: :stuck_out_tongue:

Do you have an 1800 yr old calendar?

Or feel if there is a gravitational pull associated.

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