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A rare "Blazing Star" will become visible in the night sky this year. How and when can it be seen?

A rare "Blazing Star" will become visible in the night sky this year. How and when can it be seen?
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The anticipated light show in the sky is the result of an "explosive interaction" between two neighboring stars, which occurs every 80 years.

This star is located in the constellation of the Northern Crown (and has the corresponding official name - T Northern Crown, and unofficial name - "Flaming Star") and belongs to the class of recurrent novae (one of the five known in our galaxy). Typically, its brightness is about +10 (at the limit of visibility in binoculars), but approximately every 80 years its stellar magnitude reaches +2 (at the level of the Pole Star), allowing the object to be observed with the naked eye.

T Northern Crown is located in the constellation of the Northern Crown, between the constellations of Hercules and Bootes

The last time such an outburst was recorded was in 1946, and before that - in 1866. This time, as noted by NASA, the "Fiery Star" is ahead of schedule by 2 years and will be visible between March and September 2024.

So what is the cause of such periodic outbreaks? T Northern Crown is not just a star, but a binary system consisting of a white dwarf and a red giant, locked in close orbit. The red giant ejects gas at a constant rate, and the white dwarf "sucks" it in, ultimately collecting and compressing enough hydrogen to trigger a new thermonuclear explosion. The white dwarf becomes hotter, larger, and brighter (and it is this that we see on Earth as the Flaming Star) before dimming again and starting a new 80-year cycle.

Illustration of the interaction between a white dwarf and a red giant

Astronomers will observe the new star with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope and study the celestial event with the X-ray and ultraviolet light from the Neil Gehrels Swift Space Observatory.

The NASAUniverse account on Twitter will be posting updates on the outbreak and visibility of the star.

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