Scientists have predicted that two stars would collide after at least 2020 in a rare cosmic phenomenon called “red nova.” But experts said this collision would not be visible in the naked eye.
Although this cosmic event would be invisible without an instrument, it would, however, appear as a bright light on the horizon. In fact, sometime in 2022, this red nova would become the brightest object in the sky, Vox reported.
The predicted collision between the two stars would increase brightness by up to 10,000 factors. This, the report noted, is a massive energy burst. The burst is enough to create a spectacular brightness visible in most parts the world.
Calvin College Astronomer Larry Molnar made the prediction, which he presented at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society. If Molnar’s predictions are accurate, it would be the first time astronomers predicted collision of stars.
Molnar said that astronomers now know that these things merge, but what’s behind the merge remains a mystery. He added that the stars have already collided some 1,800 million light years away, but its impact would be visible on Earth five years from now.
Some Experts Unconvinced
Meanwhile, a separate report from the Washington Post noted that the binary stars are located in the constellation Cygnus. The two stars colliding to form one star creates a powerful impact called the red nova.
But Molnar and his team’s prediction met skepticism among the science circle, as only a few scientists support this hypothesis. Molnar’s team claimed they have enough evidence to suggest that the collision is likely to happen soon.
“The core of this [new] scientific presentation is that we have done two strong tests and that our hypothesis [from 2015] is holding up,” he said. “We have eliminated the alternative interpretations and we have also refined the predicted time to 2022, plus or minus one year,” as quoted by the Washington Post.
To support their claim, Molnar’s team studied the recent red nova discovered in 2008. This red nova involved the star V1309, which provided blueprint to back their hypothesis.