July 24, 2024

WI’m still waiting for the star T Coronae Borealis (T CrB) to do its thing. First mentioned in April, the star experiences a thermonuclear explosion on its surface approximately every 80 years. This explosion will make the star visible without an aid for the first time since the 1940s.

The chart shows the view looking south-south-west from London at about 2300 BST. It marks the location to watch. When it erupts, T CrB is expected to reach the same brightness as Alphecca, the brightest star in the constellation Corona Borealis, the northern crown.

The Astronomical League suggest making a sketch of the constellation now and another when the star erupts. Sketching the constellation now will also help you determine the day on which the light from the eruption arrives at Earth.

Of course, the actual explosion had already occurred. The star is located about 2,600 light years away, so the light we are waiting for burst away from the star about 2,600 years ago and has been traveling through space ever since. Now it only has weeks or even days to go before it completes its journey and we see it.

From Sydney, Australia, the constellation will appear at its highest, due north, around 2100 AEST.

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