कोरोना बोरेलिस में एक ब्लेज़ सितारा या ‘नोवा’

कोरोना बोरेलिस में एक ब्लेज़ सितारा या ‘नोवा’

A Blaze star or ‘Nova’ in Corona Borealis

Located between constellation Hercules and Bootes is a small contellation Corona Borealis or northern crown, stars of this constellation form a semicircle formation. Stargazers ignore this region as there is no deep sky object or binary stars to attract casual observers. But in the coming months people in the northern hemisphere will be searching for an obscure 10th magnitude star invisible to naked eyes and hardly visible in binoculars. T Coronae Borealis as it is predicted to explosively brighten up by 1,526 times. This is a binary star system where a cool red giant star and a small white dwarf are in a mutual orbit. A White dwarf is a ‘retired’ star exhausted of all the hydrogen gas in the core and later lost its remaining outer gaseous envelope to the surrounding space that is usually seen as ‘planetary nebulae. Ring Nebula in constellation Lyra and Dumbbell in Vulpecula are such examples. But this star, T Coronae Borealis or T CrB has a ‘partner’, a Red giant bot still orbiting each and so closely that the Red giant star’s fresh hydrogen is pulled by the gravitational pull of white dwarf. This material keeps on accumulating around White dwarf star till Hydrogen starts fusing again and star reignites and becomes a Nova, or a so called ‘new star’.

This Nova was discovered for the first time in 1866 by John Bermingham. Though this star was recorded earlier as a 10th magnitude star, it had brightened to 2nd magnitude, almost 1500 times brighter than usual. Though there is no clear record, T CrB might put up the show in the year 1217 and in 1787 too. In 1946 on the 9th February T CrB peaked again to 3rd magnitude, the second brightest star in the constellation after the brightest star of Corona Borealis the Alphekka. So this Recurrent Nova is expected to be as bright as Alphekka to look for again this year in the months of April and May.

Plan a trip to the our observatories in the hills of Uttarakhand or in Coorg meet this Guest Star, a recurring Nova. You can locate it by finding the constellation of Corona Borealis and Epsilon Corona Borealis. It will be rising high enough by 9:30 pm in the first days of April to locate comfortably. We don’t know the exact date for the ‘blowup’ of this Nova so it is a good idea to check it out wherever you are in the dark location. This once in lifetime opportunity to witness this happening after 78 years. So when this Recurring Nova’s brighten up 2600 light years away its light started that many years ago when in Tamilnadu Sangam literature was composed will be reaching us any time in the coin months. Be there under the dark sky to welcome this guest star.

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