Science & Tech

Star explosion seen once-in-a-lifetime set to light up sky

Star explosion seen once-in-a-lifetime set to light up sky

Star explosion seen once-in-a-lifetime set to light up sky

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

If you missed out on seeing the Northern Lights in the UK last month, you might be able to witness a "once-in-a-lifetime" event this summer.

Scientists are saying that an "incredibly exciting" nova explosion of the binary star system T Corona Borealis is believed to take place in the upcoming months.

The T Coronae Borealis lies within the Northern Crown constellation of the galaxy, and is 3,000 light years away from Earth.

It's been almost 80 years since the T Coronae Borealis was visible from Earth, with the last sighting being 1946.

The star system is made up of two types of stars - a white dwarf and an ancient red giant. Because of gravity, the white dwarf will slowly take away hydrogen from the other star. During this process, a build up of gas occurs, which triggers a thermonuclear explosion, also known as a nova explosion.

This differs from a supernova, which is the final explosion of a dying star.

NASA assistant research scientist Dr. Rebekah Hounsell, said: "It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event that will create a lot of new astronomers out there, giving young people a cosmic event they can observe for themselves."

The explosion can take place at any time, from now until September, according to scientists. They added that it will be so bright that the nova will be visible from Earth with the naked eye, and when it happens, the explosion will be visible for a whole week.

So to make sure you don't miss it, Dr Elizabeth Hays, chief of the Astroparticle Physics Laboratory at NASA Goddard, said to keep an eye on "social media and email, they'll send out instant alerts, and the flag goes up. We’re counting on that global community interaction again with T Coronae Borealis."

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