Astronomers Break the News: Astounding Celestial Explosion That Awed Greatest Generation in 1946 Will Be Visible Again This Year

Astronomers Break the News: Astounding Celestial Explosion That Awed Greatest Generation in 1946 Will Be Visible Again This Year

“Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.” (Isaiah 40:26)

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see one of the lesser-known wonders of God’s creation is expected to occur sometime between now and September, according to NASA.

The T Coronae Borealis, often referred to as T CrB, last exploded in 1946, and astronomers predict that it will do so again in the coming months.

A nova makes the star system visible to an unaided eye on earth every 80 years, according to the agency.

The system, approximately 3,000 light years away from ours, is normally “far too dim” to be seen from earth without view equipment, but the nova will make it as bright as the North Star, Polaris — of only for a few days.

“Once its brightness peaks, it should be visible to the unaided eye for several days and just over a week with binoculars before it dims again, possibly for another 80 years,” Lauren Perkins of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center wrote in a blog post on the agency’s website.

Frequent stargazers can find the new system, which will look like a bright new star, in the Corona Borealis constellation, when the nova occurs.

The recurring nova is one of only five known to exist in the entire galaxy, Perkins said.

She explained the reason for the repeating event as being dependent on the fact that the T CrB system contains two stars, a white dwarf and a red giant, in what is known as a “binary system.”

“Red giants are stars that have exhausted the hydrogen fuel in their core,” Newsweek explained for us laymen. “The core contracts and heats up while the outer layers expand and cool, causing the star to swell in size and become a red giant. The outer layers of a red giant are cooler, giving them a reddish appearance.”

“Meanwhile, white dwarfs are the remnants of stars that have exhausted their nuclear fuel and undergone gravitational collapse,” the outlet added. “They become incredibly dense, typically with masses comparable to the sun but squeezed into a volume roughly the size of Earth.”

“The stars are close enough that as the red giant becomes unstable from its increasing temperature and pressure and begins ejecting its outer layers, the white dwarf collects that matter onto its surface,” Perkins wrote of the expected phonomena.

“The shallow dense atmosphere of the white dwarf eventually heats enough to cause a runaway thermonuclear reaction — which produces the nova we see from Earth,” she explained.

According to Newsweek, this explosion is known as a nova, which gives off a “massive burst of light,” as opposed to the perhaps more commonly known term supernova, which in contrast completely destroys the star involved.

Perkins suggested that interested readers follow @NASAUniverse’s X account for updates on the coming nova.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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