NASA confirms a “Fire Star” for this year.

This year we will witness an unprecedented cosmic spectacle with the appearance of a “Fire Star,” an astronomical phenomenon that will surprise observers. What is this phenomenon, when and where can we observe it?

A “fire star” is formed when stars collide

This phenomenon, called a nova or “fire star,” will occur 3,000 light-years from Earth when two stars collide and a new object is formed. Such events occur approximately every 80 years and are cosmic events of enormous magnitude that leave an indelible mark on the sky.

In this case, a red giant and a white dwarf would collide, triggering an explosion that would hurl energy and matter into space, making the event a unique visual spectacle on our planet.

When and where can you witness this cosmic event?

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), this “fire star” is expected to appear in the constellation of the polar or boreal corona between March and October this year. It is in this constellation that connects Hercules and Boottes that this exciting astronomical event takes place.

This year’s “Fire Star,” named T Coronae Borealis, promises to be visible from all provinces in Argentina, providing a unique opportunity for astronomy enthusiasts in the country.

Although this group of stars normally has a magnitude of 10, on this occasion it reaches an impressive magnitude of 2, making them visible to the naked eye and even with binoculars for several days and a week.
According to NASA experts, such an event is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, because when it is over, the nova will remain inactive and dark for another 80 years.

T Coronae Borealis: A star that is about to explode (again).

T Coronae Borealis, T CrB for short, is a very special star in the constellation Corona Borealis, the Corona Borealis. It doesn’t always attract attention, but this year (2024) it could give us an astronomical spectacle. Because? T CrB is a recurring nova.

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Double star, cyclic explosions

T CrB is a binary star system, meaning it is actually two stars orbiting each other. One is a red giant, much larger and cooler than our sun. The other is a white dwarf, the dense body of a Sun-like star that once shone.

The red giant loses material from its outer shell to the white dwarf due to its weaker gravity. The stolen matter accumulates on the white dwarf’s surface until a sudden and violent nuclear fusion occurs about every 80 years. This is the Nova explosion!

The “Fire Star” will be a sight to behold

During the explosion, T CrB becomes hundreds of times brighter. Normally, with a magnitude of 10.8, it is only visible with powerful telescopes. But during a nova it can reach a magnitude of 2, making it visible to the naked eye, even from urban areas with light pollution!

The last known T-CrB explosion occurred in 1946. Astronomers predict the next one could occur sometime between February and September 2024. When it happens, we’ll witness a seemingly ordinary star become a bright spot in the night sky for a few weeks.

Watch the explosion

If the prediction is correct, the best way to observe the “Fire Star” is to locate the Corona Borealis constellation. It will be visible in the north around midnight and will be higher in the sky as the hours pass. With a bit of luck you can witness this extraordinary astronomical event!

To stay abreast of updates on the possible T-CrB explosion, you can check astronomy websites or join amateur skywatching groups.

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