We may witness a rare scene in the skies fives years from now as two stars are expected to merge and lit up the skies. Astronomers have said that a phenomenon called red nova, a stellar explosion thought to be caused by the merging of two stars, will take place in 2022.
A team of astronomers led by Lawrence Molnar from Department of Physics & Astronomy, Calvin College, presented their findings of the binary star system, KIC 9832227 at the just concluded annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The researchers, who have been studying the binary star system since 2013, have claimed that the stars are getting closer over the years, giving a hint that they will merge in the next few years.
The prediction of the red nova is "based on the example of the precursor to the red nova V1309 Sco, which was retrospectively found to be a contact binary with an exponentially decreasing period" and "explore the use of this distinctive timing signature to identify precursors, developing the observational and analysis steps needed."
"We estimate that our Galaxy has roughly 1–10 observable precursors. Specifically, we lay out the observational case for KIC 9832227, which we identified as a tentative candidate two years ago," said the finding.
"Orbital timing over the past two years has followed the tentative exponential fit. As of late 2015, the period time derivative went beyond the range found in other systems (P <˙|1 × 10−8 |), a necessary criterion for a serious candidate. We estimate time of merger is the year 2022.2 ± 0.6," said the finding."
The stars of KIC 9832227, which already share an atmosphere, have spiralled towards one another over the years. And based upon the behaviour of V1309 Sco before red nova happened, the researchers have drawn upon the conclusion that KIC 9832227 stellar explosion might take place in 2022.
The light produced by the phenomenon is expected to be visible to the naked eyes.