‘It’s not often that a new body appears in the night sky—aside from meteors and the [occasional] comet, things tend to look pretty much the same. Now, astronomers predict that a pair of stars so close they’re basically touching will collide and create a so-called red nova, resulting in a bright explosion visible to the naked eye.
The Calvin College team, lead by professor Larry Molnar, has been observing the KIC 9832227 binary system since they first heard about it at a conference in 2013. After determining that the system truly was binary, the astronomers looked at data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope and noticed that the orbital period, or amount of time it took the stars to orbit each other once, had decreased. Continued observations revealed that the spinning stars are speeding up, which allowed the astronomers to estimate that the pair will collide in 2022 (plus or minus a year)…’