Would you believe if I say, you can watch stars colliding with each other? Not via a computer or even an observatory or a telescope, but with your naked eye!!
Yes, this event is anticipated to occur in 2022 and you can see them exploding and becoming one.
Categorized as the Binary Star mergers, this Binary Star System named KIC 9832227, have started growing shorter and doing its deadly dance ever since 2013. Larry Molnar from Calvin College and his team predicts that this star system will likely merge and explode in 2022 or early 2023 aprox. During this explosion(Stellar Collision), the star would produce bright light that is ten thousand fold larger than its own producing a luminous red nova. This red nova will be visible to the naked eye. This will be visible as a bright red star in the night sky for almost a month for the star gazers as well for those who love looking at the night sky.
Now, to those who want to understand the phenomena, the terms I used/italicized, keep reading.
The name “Binary” kinda gives away. Yes it means two. Binary Star System is nothing but two astronomical bodies that are located close enough to each other that their gravitational force causes them to orbit each other. The center of these two object’s orbit is known as the Barycenter. This common center of mass is not exactly located within the interior of either object and that excludes it “requirements” to be a satellite system or a planetary system.
Fun Fact: There is also a term called, “Contact binary system” – this carries the same definition as “Binary Star System”. The only difference is the word “Contact”, meaning, the two stars will be located so close to each other that they almost touch.
It means two stars gets close enough with each other and explode. This is caused by gravity or any other phenomena. Astronomers predicts that this event occurs once in every 10,000 years. This is exactly that’s going to happen with the binary star system KIC 9832227.
Luminous red nova:
Most of us are aware will have an idea when we read the term “Luminous red nova”. Why? Because we have come across terms like Supernova, novae etc. These are all the terms to with explosion.
Luminous red nova is an explosion caused when two starts merge together and become one. When this happens, as mentioned above, they emit bright light, this bring light’s color will be a distinct red and hence the name.
There are already other red luminous red nova in space and this star KIC 9832227 is going to join that clan.
Here is the picture of another binary system merger that resulted in Luminous Red Nova: V1309 Scorpii
Fun fact: This is the first star to provide evidence to conclude that the binary systems end their evolution by merging with one other.
Now that these terms makes much more sense, a little more insight to this contact binary star system.
This system is only located 1800 light-years from Earth. These two stars are locked in an orbit so close to each other that it would take only 11 hours to complete on full orbit. This will one day merge and result in stellar explosion.
Considering recent studies in September 2018, scientists now are unsure about this prediction.