Skip to content
Star System T Coronae Borealis Prepares to Explode on the Scene

Star System T Coronae Borealis Prepares to Explode on the Scene

Prepare for a celestial spectacle not seen in over seven decades as T Coronae Borealis, a recurrent nova, is poised to ignite the heavens between now through September 2024. Nestled 3,000 light-years away in the constellation of Corona Borealis, this star system is on the brink of a dazzling display visible to the naked eye.

The binary system, comprising a red giant and a white dwarf, orbits in a gravitational dance every 228 days. The red giant, classified as an M3 star, continually transfers material to its compact companion. This accumulation forms an accretion disk that eventually triggers a thermonuclear explosion, resulting in a brilliant nova. Typically dim at a magnitude of +10, the system is expected to surge in brightness, potentially rivaling the luminosity of the North Star with a magnitude of +2.

Historically, T CrB has been a point of interest since its first recorded eruption in 1866 by Irish Astronomer John Birmingham, with subsequent notable activity in 1946 by American Astronomer Armin Deutsch at Yerkes Observatory, and earlier hints of activity in 1217 and 1787. Each eruption provides a unique opportunity to observe the dynamic processes of stellar evolution, and with activity noted as recently as 2016, anticipation is mounting for the next spectacular outburst.

Astronomy enthusiasts should acquaint themselves with the Northern Crown, situated near the constellations of Bootes and Hercules. Here, T CrB will shine forth as a luminous "new" star during its expected eruption. This event also presents a prime opportunity to explore other celestial wonders, such as the globular clusters M13 and M92 in Hercules, and M3 in Boötes. It could be visible to the naked eye for several days and potentially visible for over a week through binoculars.

Dubbed the 'Blaze Star' for its periodic outbursts, T CrB's impending display serves as a vivid reminder of the dynamic nature of our universe. As one of only five known recurrent novae in our galaxy, it offers a dramatic glimpse into celestial phenomena that unfold over millennia and can be observed from immense distances. As the nova approaches its peak brilliance, both amateur stargazers and seasoned astronomers eagerly anticipate what could be a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event.

Gear to Explore T CrB

More Information


  • Feature Image Credit: Daniel Gallagher
Subject: Star System T Corona Borealis
Imaging Telescopes/Lenses: Explore Scientific ED102 Essential Series Air-Spaced Triplet Refractor
  • Sky Map Credit: Stellarium
Previous article Exploring the Universe with David Eicher: A Look at Keenan's System during the 148th Global Star Party
Next article C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan–ATLAS) - The Next Great Comet?

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields