NASA confirms a “fire star” for this year

This year, we will witness an unprecedented cosmic spectacle with the appearance of a “fire star,” an astronomical phenomenon that will surprise observers. What is this phenomenon, when and where can we see it?

A "star of fire" is born: when stars collide

This phenomenon, called a nova or "fire star", will occur 3.000 light years from Earth when two stars collide and a new object is formed. Occurring approximately every 80 years, these types of events are cosmic events of enormous proportions that leave an indelible mark on the sky.

In this case, a red giant and a white dwarf would collide, causing an explosion that shoots energy and matter into space, turning the event into a unique visual spectacle on our planet.

When and where to witness this cosmic event?

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), this "fire star" is expected to appear between March and October of this year in the constellation of the Polar or Boreal Corona. This constellation that connects Hercules and Boötes will host this exciting astronomical event.

This year's "fire star", called T Coronae Borealis, promises to be visible from all provinces of Argentina, offering a unique opportunity for astronomy enthusiasts in the country.

Although this group of stars usually has magnitude 10, on this occasion it will reach an impressive magnitude 2, which will make them visible to the naked eye and even with binoculars for several days and visible for a week.
According to NASA experts, this type of event is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, because once it is over, the nova will remain dormant and in darkness for another 80 years.

T Coronae Borealis: A star about to explode (again)

T Coronae Borealis, or T CrB for short, is a very special star in the constellation Corona Borealis, the Corona Borealis. It doesn't always attract attention, but this year (2024) it could give us an astronomical spectacle. Because? T CrB is a recurrent nova.

Double star, cyclic explosions

T CrB is a binary system, meaning it is actually two stars orbiting each other. One is a red giant, much larger and cooler than our Sun. The other is a white dwarf, the dense corpse of a Sun-like star that once shone.

The red giant, with its weaker gravity, loses material from its outer shell to the white dwarf. The stolen matter accumulates on the surface of the white dwarf until, every 80 years or so, a sudden and violent thermonuclear fusion occurs. This is the nova explosion!

The "fire star" will be a sight to behold

During the explosion, T CrB becomes hundreds of times brighter. Normally, with a magnitude of 10.8, it is only visible with powerful telescopes. But during a nova, it can reach a magnitude of 2, making it visible to the naked eye, even from urban areas with light pollution!

The last known T CrB explosion occurred in 1946. Astronomers predict that the next one could occur sometime between February and September 2024. If it happens, we will witness a seemingly ordinary star become a bright spot in the night sky for a few weeks.

Watching the explosion

If the forecast is accurate, the best way to observe the "fire star" will be to locate the constellation Corona Borealis. It will be visible to the north around midnight and will be higher in the sky as the hours progress. With a little luck, you will be able to witness this extraordinary astronomical event!

To stay tuned for updates on the possible T CrB explosion, you can check astronomy websites or join amateur skywatching groups.