A prediction was made by Larry Molnar of Calvin College in 2015 that a binary star system will soon merge and explode. The claim might soon be a reality as Molnar announced in a press briefing. The researchers from Calvin College, Apache point Observatory and the University of Wyoming have predicted it to happen in five years.
KIC 9832227 will be merging in the next five years and will then explode. According to the prediction, the merger will happen in 2022, give or take a year for the actual incident to happen. When the explosion occurs, it will be one of the brightest stars in the sky, though for a while. The star would be added to the Northern Cross and will be visible as a part of the Cygnus constellation.
“It’s a one-in-a-million chance that you can predict an explosion. It’s never been done before,” Molnar said.
He started the research on KIC 9832227 back in 2013 after an astronomy conference by Karen Kinemuchi. She was presenting her findings that she found after studying the brightness of a star and Molnar was present there. In the end of the conference, she asked a question – is it pulsing or is it a binary?
Daniel Van Noord, Molnar’s research assistant, took the challenge and tried to find the answer to Kinemuchi’s question. The observatory at the Calvin College was used by Noord to study the star in question. Studying its brightness and colour, it was determined that the star was a binary. It was a contact binary, where two stars share a common atmosphere.
The star KIC 9832227 will be further studied by Molnar and his colleagues during the meantime. They will find out the exact reasons and conditions that will lead to merging and ultimately to the explosion.
Source: Calvin College