Birth of a Star
The night sky seems static to average observers who are not equipped with instruments that allow them to see how it changes over time. However, the night sky will soon make a change that anyone can see. This change will come in the form of a new star. Astronomers have predicted that the sky will receive this new star around the year 2022, plus or minus a year.
This new star forming will be the result of two smaller stars in a binary star system colliding, system KIC 983227. A binary star system is a star system with two stars that orbit each other, and these systems are fairly common. Astronomers at Calvin College have been studying this system since 2013. The two stars in this system are too dim to be seen when looked at with the naked eye. However, when they collide to create one star and it will be bright enough to be seen by a naked eye. For a short few months directly after the collision it will be one of the brightest objects in the night sky. The initial event will have happened 1,800 light years from Earth, which means its collision has already happened, but we will witness it in 2022 due to the limited speed of light.
This is the first prediction of its kind, but astronomers still have confidence in it. This confidence is due to star system V1309 Scopii. In 2008, a very similar event occurred; two stars collided to create one star. In hindsight, astronomers realized that it would have been possible to predict the collision based on observations if had they known what they were looking for. Fast forward to 2013, and they are seeing the same patterns from KIC 983227, allowing them to make a reliable prediction.
This new star will be located between the constellations Cygnus and Lyra, and will have a slightly reddish tint to it. This astronomical event will truly be extraordinary to witness and will be an important research opportunity about binary star systems, helping astronomers predict future events with more accuracy.
Clery , Daniel. "Colliding stars will light up the night sky in 2022." Science. N.p., 6 Jan. 2017 . Web. 25 Jan. 2017
Scientists Predict a New Star Will Appear in 2022. (2017). Inside Science. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
Rizzo , Cailey . "Scientists Predict a New Star Will Appear in 2022." Travel Leisure. N.p., 12 Jan. 2017 . Web. 25 Jan. 2017.