In 2022 we’ll be able to watch an 1,800-year old star collision
A star created 1,800 years ago after the collision of two distant suns is set to appear in the night sky for the first time – as the light from the crash finally reaches the Earth.
Scientists predict that for six months in 2022, stargazers will be able to witness the birth of the new star, which formed at the time of the Romans’ war with Scottish tribes, by fixing their telescopes near the Pisces and Cygnus constellations.
Dubbed the Boom Star, it has taken nearly two millennia for its light to reach earth — where it will be able to be seen by the naked eye.
Before their collision the two stars were too dim to be seen without the aid of an extremely powerful telescope but astronomers expect the collision to increase the brightness of the pair ten thousand fold, making it one of the brightest stars in the heaven for a time.
The explosion, known as a Red Nova, will then dissipate and the star will remain visible as a single bright, but duller, dot.
The prediction is based on a study of the two stars, which are orbiting each other in ever decreasing circles and appear to be on course for a collision.
Assuming they are correct, it would be the first time such an event was predicted by scientists.
“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.