Spectacular collision of suns will create new star in night sky in 2022

Sarah Knapton, from The Telegraph wrote the article, “Spectacular collision of suns will create new star in night sky in 2022” explaining hundreds of years ago, in the beginning of the 3rd century during the civil war of Britain and Roman emperor Septimius Severus, two stars joined together in a huge explosion. Now 1800 years later the light from the joined stars will finally reach Earth, creating a new star being labeled as the Boom star. Before the joining, the stars were too dim to see with the naked eye but the newly formed red nova will be one of the brightest stars in the sky for about 6 months until it gradually dims down to its normal rightness after around 2-3 years. This will be the very first time in history that scientists could predict the birth of a new star, and will surely lead to a race of who can record the phenomenon first. The binary star system, known as KIC9832227 is made of two suns that spin around each other every 11 hours. In 2013, Larry Molnar noticed the orbital speed has been decreasing at a constant rate, while the orbital period has been getting faster since 1999 matching the data to a binary star system that exploded in 2008. It is considered a one-in-a-million chance that an explosion like this can be predicted.

I find it so fascinating that we will be able to watch an explosion occur that happened almost two thousand years ago. For all we know, some other binary star system may have exploded today but humans wouldn’t know until hundreds or thousands of years from now. It’s weird to think that one day I could be looking up at the sky at an empty black area, and then instantly a star would appear. I am curious though how scientists know exactly when this explosion and new star formation will occur. As the article states that the orbital period is getting faster meaning they are getting closer, but how do scientists know when close is too close finally causing the explosion. Although this article discusses two stars forming into one bigger star, it still relates to our thirteenth conceptual objective. Instead of two stars exploding causing one massive star, we learned how stars are formed on their own. Stars are formed from molecular clouds of dust and gas that eventually collapse. Gravity stars pulling all the molecules together, making everything very dense. The cloud then collapses heating up creating a core known as a protostar. The protostar gathers other dust and gases which slowly adds up to a full mature star. Not all of the dust and gas gets used up in the star though, what ever remains may become planets or asteroids. However, as we learned in class, not all stars form to one exact size. Some are smaller than others while others are much larger. We learned from our lecture-tutorial notes that a star’s mass actually has a significant correlation on its life expectancy as can be seen in the table from “Star Formation and Lifetimes”


This table shows lifetime expectancy of stars relative to our sun. Our sun is believed to have a lifetime of about 10 billion years. A star that is just half the mass of our sun has a life expectancy of five times longer  while a star with double the mass only lives for 1/5 the amount of time. This is because a bigger star burns through its fuel much quicker. Because this newly formed star is going to be quite a large star, then it is safe to say that it’s life expectancy may be fairly short for a star.


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