How to see the nova explosion in September 2024 without a telescope | Explained News

It's not often that a dark spot in space lights up our planet, but that's exactly what professional and amateur astronomers are hoping will happen in September, when a once-in-a-lifetime nova explosion about 3,000 light-years from Earth will light up our night sky.

A nova explosion is a dramatic example of a star exploding when it interacts with another, nearby star. It is one of many, repeated moments during the long, slow, death of two neighboring stars in the same system.

Astronomers are waiting for the massive explosion of T Coronae Borealis, also known as the “Blaze Star” and known to astronomers as “T CrB”.

The system consists of two stars – a white dwarf and a red giant. The white dwarf is the incredibly dense remains of a once massive star. It is the size of planet Earth, but has a mass comparable to that of our Sun. Its neighbour, the red giant, is in the final years of its existence and is slowly stripping itself of hydrogen due to the gravitational pull of the dense white dwarf.

This “cannibalism” of the star causes a tremendous build-up of pressure and heat, which eventually triggers a massive thermonuclear explosion. However, the explosion does not completely destroy the star, and so the phenomenon is repeated over time. It can continue for hundreds of thousands of years.

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For T CrB, this nova event occurs approximately every 80 years – this is similar to the Halley Comet event that occurs every 76 years – therefore, astronomers call T CrB a “recurring” nova. They believe that previous explosions of T CrB were seen in December 1787 and even in October 1217 AD.

Are nova and supernova the same?

No. Supernovae are the final explosions that destroy stars completely. In a nova event, the dwarf star remains intact, which is why nova events usually repeat themselves.

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Different nova events have different cycles, with periods ranging from a few years to millions of years.

What does a nova look like?

The nova explosion blasts star matter into a blinding flash of light, but it won't look like the star explosions we see in the movies – thankfully we're too far away to see that level of detail.

When viewed with the naked eye, the nova will look like a new star has appeared in the sky. People will be able to see the nova with high-powered telescopes. bright colour flashes In some detail.

Will we be able to see the nova without a telescope?

Yes! When T CrB explodes, its brightness will increase dramatically, making it visible to the naked eye for several days. The Northern Crown is a horseshoe-shaped curve of stars to the west of the Hercules constellation, ideally visible on clear nights.

To find the Northern Crown, locate the two brightest stars in the Northern Hemisphere: Arcturus and Vega. Drawing a line between the two stars will lead you to the Northern Crown, where T CrB is located.

The European Space Agency told DW that all telescopes are already pointed at the T-CREB and waiting to capture the event, but there are no images yet.

When will the nova appear?

All signs point to a nova explosion in September 2024. However, novas can be unpredictable, so astrophysicists say it's hard to know exactly when a T CrB nova will occur.

Have nova events been observed in history?

The last time a T CrB nova was observed from Earth was in 1946. The first recorded sighting of a T CrB nova is believed to have been over 800 years ago in 1217, when an abbot in the German town of Ursberg observed “a faint star which for some time shone with a very bright light.”

The abbot wrote that the light lasted for “many days” and was considered a “wonderful sign.” Other celestial events, such as comets, were considered bad omens.

Astronomers have recorded supernova events far back in history. The first sighting of a supernova was nearly 2,000 years ago in 185 A.D., when Chinese astronomers observed a strange “guest star” in the night sky for eight months.

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