Astronomer Predicts a Nova Eruption for first Time

Scientists make predictions, that’s how we know that our models are correct. If we can forecast that something will happen before it happens we must have a good idea of just what’s causing it to happen.

In my blog back on January the first I mention the total solar eclipse that’s going to happen on the 17th of August of this year and scientists have been predicting eclipses now since the time of the Roman emperor Claudius.

A few predictions have been some of the greatest moments in the history of science, such as when Edmund Halley predicted that a comet would return or when Paul Dirac predicted the existence of Anti-matter. Just a few years ago the discovery of the Higgs boson confirmed a prediction made by Peter Higgs back in the 1960s.

Now Astronomer Lawrence Molnar of Calvin College in Grand Rapids Michigan is making the first ever prediction of the eruption of a Nova, the explosion of a particular star system. The star system in question is called KIC 9832227, a 12th magnitude system in the constellation in the of Cygnus. The system consists of three stars, two of which form a contact binary, that is two stars that are so close to each other that they are “kissing”. See picture below.

Star Merger Geometry. L. Molnar, Calvin College

Professor Molnar and his team have been studying KIC9832227 for many years now and have noted an acceleration in the orbit period of the two stars, an acceleration which is increasing exponentially. Based on these observations Professor Molnar predicts that in 2022, give or take a year the stars will merge into one and that the resulting explosion will make the 12th magnitude system temporarily visible to the naked eye, a new star or Nova will appear briefly in our night sky.

While not as spectacular as a Supernova, where a star 10 or more times as massive as our Sun explodes in a fireball as bright as an entire Galaxy this is the first time anyone has been bold enough to predict a date on when a nova will occur. I hope that five years from now I get to see KIC 9832227 as it goes Nova. If it does Professor Molnar will have joined the ranks of Halley and Dirac and many others whose predictions have done so much to advance human knowledge. You can read an article on Professor Molnar’s work at Sky and Telescope Magazine by clicking on the link below.

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/uncategorized/stars-en-route-to-merger/

Before I go I want to also mention a new, and I think very beautiful picture of our Earth with the Moon that has been taken from orbit around Mars by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Earth and Moon as seen from Mars- NASA Picture

If you’d like a better picture check out the article at Space.com by clicking below.

http://www.space.com/35252-earth-and-moon-from-mars-photo.html

P.S. I finally got around to making a unique header image for Science and Science Fiction. I hope you like it!

442 thoughts on “Astronomer Predicts a Nova Eruption for first Time”

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    1. Thanks for the comment. Now, I would like to point out that I’m not the one making the prediction. Still, if you think you have evidence against the model by all means let’s hear it! Looking forward to a reply.
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    1. I’m planning on a series of posts about the lives of stars which will discuss supernovas some more so keep checking back!
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    1. Let’s be honest now, there are no experts when it comes to Supernova! However we have learned a great deal about them over the last 50 years and if this prediction turns out correct, then we can say we’re beginning to fully understand them! Thanks for the comment!
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    1. Thanks for the comment, even though I had to translate from polish. But this isn’t a law yet, it’s a prediction based upon study of previous supernova events. If the prediction turns out to be accurate that will mean that we have taken a big step in understanding the laws governing supernovas!
      Bob L

  63. Тhe next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not disаppoint me as much as this one.
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    1. Sorry that you feel that way but after rereading the post I don’t see where I mentioned any problem to be fixed nor do I see anything that could be construed as moaning. I am actually quite hopeful about the possibility of predicting a supernova explosion. Again I’m sorry but I don’t understand your comment!!!
      Bob L

  64. My developer is trying to convince me to move to .net from
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    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on a number of websites for about a year and am anxious about switching to another
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    Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress content into it?
    Any kind of help would be really appreciated!

    1. Sorry but I’m not the most knowledgeable person on web development. I also use wordpress and I’ve been fine with it. I have no plans to go to something fancier, which I probably wouldn’t be able to make full use of anyway. Hope that helps, if only a little!
      Bob L

    1. Thanks for the comment. My reader base is growing all the time but I can always find room for more so tell all of your friends!
      Bob L

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      Bob L

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  70. My coder is trying to persuade me to move to
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    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on a number of websites for about a
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    1. I’m not an expert by any means. It seems to me however that if you’re happy the way things are maybe, you know. I always follow the KISS rule ‘Keep it simple Stupid!!” Hope that helps.
      Bob L

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    1. Thanks for the comment. I have been trying to think of ways to make my blog a little more grabbing but I do want to try to keep it more informative rather than exciting. I will consider your advice. Thanks again.
      Bob L

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      Bob L

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      Bob L

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  77. I was curious if you ever considered changing the structure of your website?
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    1. Thanks for the comment. I agree I should put more images into my posts, and figure out how to make them larger. However I do want to keep my blog more informative than eye-catching. I’ll try to find a better happy medium. Thanks again.
      Bob L

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    1. Thanks for the comment. I try to post something new twice a week so I hope you’ll keep coming back, and tell your friends as well.
      Bob L

  79. Hey there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any
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    due to no backup. Do you have any methods to prevent hackers?

    1. I haven’t had any problems so far, I’ve got my fingers crossed as I say that. I also have wordpress but I have sitelock as well. If you don’t you might want to consider it. Also I just don’t let out my password to anybody. Finally I never approve any comment with a link to a webpage of any kind. If I see a comment that has a link embedded in it, it goes right in the trash!!!! Hope that helps!!!
      Bob L

  80. It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to
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    1. Thanks for the comment. I’m planning on a series of posts describing in general terms just what we know about the different kinds of stars and I will be discussing Supernova so keep watching!
      Bob L

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    1. Thanks for the comment. Sometimes new things seem complicated when really you just need to get familiar with some of the concepts. I hope you’ll keep coming back and hopefully your understanding will grow.
      Bob L

  82. This is the perfect webpage for anybody who would like to find out about this topic.
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    1. Well thanks for the comment but I’m afraid I don’t allow links to other webpages in my comments section. No offense but you never know where they’ll eventually lead and with all of the unethical if not actually illegal stuff out there I just decided to never allow it period. Again thanks for the comment and I hope you understand.
      Bob L

    1. Thanks for the comment. I will admit that writing two posts each week is a fair amount of work but you just have to do it and don’t let anything or anyone stop you.
      Bob L

    1. Thanks for the comment but I have to tell you that I do not allow links to other sites in my comments. Nothing personal but you never know where a link may go. Even if you stop to check the owner of that other site could change it, or link to a third site. Really, if you are considering starting your own site take my advice and keep strict control of any links!!!! Good luck on your site!
      Bob L

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