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01/13/2017 – Ephemeris – Perhaps we’ll see a nova in 5 years, 2022

January 13, 2017 Comments off

Jan 13.  This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Friday, January 13th.  The Sun will rise at 8:16.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 9 minutes, setting at 5:26.  The Moon, 1 day past full, will rise at 7:12 this evening.

Professor Larry Molnar from Calvin College in my home town of Grand Rapids and his students discovered that a star, [KIC 9832227,] that was monitored by the Kepler exoplanet finding satellite in the northern constellation of Cygnus the Swan may explode in about 5 years.  The star is actually two so close that they share their outer atmospheres, someone described it as two peanuts in one shell.  The two orbit each other in 11 hours now, and the period is shortening at an accelerated rate as the two approach each other.  Astronomers think that it will repeat the fate of a star that exploded in 2008 in the constellation of Scorpius.  Such explosions, when seen are called Novae.  A Nova like this could make the star briefly 10,000 times brighter than it originally was. [Current magnitude is 12, which is visible in moderate sized (6″ or 150 mm) diameter telescopes.  10,000 times brighter equals a 10 magnitude bump, which would make the star 2nd magnitude.  Magnitudes are like golf scores the lower the magnitude the brighter the object.  Blame Hipparchus.]

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Note:  The text in brackets omitted in the broadcast.

Addendum

 

Finder Chart

Finder Chart for KIC 9832227. It’s in the red bulls eye. Credit: Calvin College.

The position of KIC 9832227 is circumpolar or nearly so for northern Michigan.  So it’s up all or most of the 24 hour day, so no matter the time of year this baby blows, we should be able to see it.

What the star(s) may look like

Two computer generated views of KIC 9832227. The large star is about twice the Sun’s diameter, while the smaller star is a bit less than the Sun’s size. Credit: Calvin College.

For more information click here:  https://calvin.edu/news/archive/astronomy-prof-student-predict-explosion-that-will-change-the-night-sky.

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