科学家预计2022年双星合二为一将照亮整片夜空 

图来源于ESO/L. Calçada

中国科技网讯 据《Science16日的一篇文章显示,一队天文学家做了一个大胆的假设:他们认为在2022年或者就在那周围几年,来自外天空的一对恒星将会发生碰撞融合并爆炸,造成地球的夜空在短时间内被照亮。

 天文学家表示,这个听起来有些可怕的爆炸事件虽然很难准确预计到底何时会发生,但它就像记录在死亡账本上的必然事件一样,在不久的将来必定会发生。其实早在2013年,在一切预兆还没有太明显时,科学家就在研究这对名为KIC 9832227的恒星了。他们发现,这对恒星的轨道速度越来越快,这个现象预示着这两颗行星的距离越来越近,他们是如此此之近,以至于这对双星是在分享同一个大气层。

 KIC 9832227’s的现象让科学家不禁想起了另外一对类似的恒星:天蝎座V1309双星。这对双星也曾经旋转的越来越快,距离越来越近,分享着同一个大气层,以至于在2008年毫无意外的发生融合爆炸。2年后,相似的情况出现在了KIC 9832227’s身上。天文学家排除了其他可能因素,经过仔细的观察确认其确实转的越来越快后,于16日在美国天文学年会上宣布:KIC 9832227’s双星将会在不久发生爆炸大概是5年之后。

 科学家表示他们将会在接下来的日子里继续观察KIC 9832227’s来确认他们的假设,并表示其他业余天文爱好者也可以加入这一队伍。当双星合二唯一的时刻到来时,地球上所有的人都能看到这一壮举。(张晓卉编译)

图文来源于《Science

以下为英文全文:

Colliding stars will light up the night sky in 2022

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. The pair is so close, in fact, they share an atmosphere (as in this artist’s conception of an unrelated stellar merger). KIC 9832227’s behavior reminded the researchers of another binary pair, V1309 Scorpii, which also had a merged atmosphere, was spinning up faster and faster, and exploded unexpectedly in 2008. Now, after 2 years of careful study to confirm the accelerating spin and eliminate alternative explanations, the team reported here today at the American Astronomical Society’s annual meeting that the pair will explode as a “red nova”—an explosion caused by a binary merging—in about 5 years’ time. The scientists will continue to monitor KIC 9832227 over the coming years to both firm up their prediction and learn more about how such a death spiral ends in a red nova. Amateur astronomers can study it, too, measuring how it fluctuates in brightness at an ever-increasing rate. And when it blows, we’ll all be able to enjoy the show.

 

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