Friday, January 06, 2017

Mark your calendars

Molnar et al are predicting that a binary star system will merge and explode in 2022. If true, Cygnus will look a little funny for a couple of years.

The eclipses of one star by the other are coming faster and faster, and if V1309 is anything to go by the pair should spiral in and merge in a moderately dramatic way in about 5 years.

If this event is anything like the 2008 explosion, it’ll take about six months to rise to its full brightness — 10,000 times greater than the brightness of the original. When it comes to space phenomena, it can sometimes be hard to tell what big numbers are actually as impressive as they sound and which are not actually big at all relative to, you know, the scale of the universe. This is the former. It will mean a noticeable change in the brightness of the night sky.

And if it takes 6 months to grow, the weather shouldn't get in the way, as it tends to with things like solar eclipses and comets and auroras.

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