A star created 1,800 years ago after the collision of two distant stars is set to appear in the night sky for the first time in 2022 – as the light from the crash finally reaches the Earth.
The two stars have been locked into a death spiral for millions of years and the blast could release more energy than our sun will in its lifetime. Scientists predict that for six months stargazers will be able to witness the birth of the new star by fixing their telescopes near the Pisces and Cygnus constellations.
Calvin College professor Larry Molnar and his team said in a statement that two stars are orbiting each other now and “share a common atmosphere, like two peanuts sharing a single shell.”
The two stars are in the Northern Cross – in star system KIC 9832227. The researchers, who have been studying the binary star system since 2013, and noticed that its orbital period was getting shorter. That suggested it might be following a pattern scientists observed in another star, which exploded unexpectedly in 2008, the team said.
“If the prediction is correct, then for the first time in history, parents will be able to point to a dark spot in the sky and say, ‘watch kids, there’s a star hiding in there, but soon it’s going to light up,” said Matt Walhout, of Calvin College in Michigan, which has been researching the star, along with Apache Point observatory and the University of Wyoming.
“It will be a very dramatic change in the sky, as anyone can see it. You won’t need a telescope to tell me in 2023 whether I was wrong or I was right,” added Larry Molnar, also of Calvin College.