GRAPEVINE, TEXAS—A team of astronomers is making a bold prediction: In 2022, give or take a year, a pair of stars will merge and explode, becoming one of the brightest objects in the sky for a short period. It’s notoriously hard to predict when such stellar catastrophes will occur, but this binary pair is engaged in a well-documented dance of death that will inevitably come to a head in the next few years, they say.
The researchers began studying the pair, known as KIC 9832227, in 2013 before they were certain whether it was actually a binary or a pulsating star. They found that the speed of the orbit was gradually getting faster and faster, implying the stars are getting closer together.
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