Get ready to watch a rare explosive star system blaze into life

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A red giant star and white dwarf orbit each other in this animation of a nova similar to T Coronae Borealis. The red giant is a large sphere in shades of red, orange, and white, with the side facing the white dwarf the lightest shades. The white dwarf is hidden in a bright glow of white and yellows, which represent an accretion disk around the star. A stream of material, shown as a diffuse cloud of red, flows from the red giant to the white dwarf. When the red giant moves behind the white dwarf, a nova explosion on the white dwarf ignites, creating a ball of ejected nova material shown in pale orange. After the fog of material clears, a small white spot remains, indicating that the white dwarf has survived the explosion. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

This week we are focusing on what is currently a dark patch in the sky, but won’t be for much longer. That’s because a “new” star is expected to appear in the night sky over the next few months.

Of course, the star isn’t actually new – it has been around for billions of years. What’s new is that it will be visible to the naked eye, temporarily, while undergoing an explosive event called a nova.

The object in question, called T Coronae Borealis – or the much catchier “blaze star” – is actually a binary star system made up of…

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