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Ancient History Is About to Happen in the Night Sky

3000 years ago, a distant star system exploded. We’ll see it happen in our night sky sometime in the next few months.

Placement of Blaze Star on the night sky.
Placement of Blaze Star on the night sky.

A new star is about to appear in the constellation Corona Borealis.


Find Corona Borealis from your town or city using our Interactive Night Sky Map.

T Coronae Borealis, aka the Blaze Star

Every 80 years or so, a binary star system 3000 light years from Earth undergoes a violent outburst.

T Coronae Borealis—also known as T CrB or the Blaze Star—consists of two stars. It is normally invisible to the naked eye.

However, this star system is a recurrent nova. This means it undergoes repeated outbursts where its brightness increases dramatically.

3000 Light Years from Earth

At some point between now and September 2024, the Blaze Star is expected to live up to its name and shine as a new star within the northern constellation Corona Borealis.

You’ll have to be quick: it will only be visible to the naked eye for a few days.

Also, spoiler alert: the explosion has already happened—about 3000 years ago.

The roughly 3000-light-year distance between T Coronae Borealis and Earth means the light has taken that long to reach us. A light year is a measure of distance. It is the distance that light travels in a vacuum in exactly 365.25 days.

In effect, therefore, we’ll be watching ancient history: the eruption took place 3000 years ago—around the end of the Bronze Age in human history.

And because it recurs every 80 years or so, T CrB will have undergone about another 40 outbursts in the 300 centuries since then.

An Explosion of Hydrogen

One of the stars that make up T Coronae Borealis is a red giant, which is a cool, large star. The other is a white dwarf, which is hotter and smaller.

The dense white dwarf attracts hydrogen from the red giant. When the build-up of hydrogen reaches a certain level, it ignites—producing a bright flash.

“Pre-eruption Dip”

The last two outbursts of T Coronae Borealis were in 1946 and 1866. Historical records suggest that outbursts were also observed in the years 1787 and 1217.

In 2023, astronomers recorded a “pre-eruption dip” in the star system’s brightness. This indicates an explosion will happen by around September 2024 at the latest.

Find the Corona Borealis Constellation

Blaze star position on the night sky between Vega and Arcturus.
Blaze star position on the night sky between Vega and Arcturus.

Arcturus and Vega are helpful signposts for finding Corona Borealis: they are the 4th and 5th brightest stars in the night sky.


The crown-shaped constellation Corona Borealis—the word corona means crown, while borealis means northern—can be found between the bright stars Arcturus and Vega.

In the Northern Hemisphere summer, Corona Borealis is overhead during the night. For sky-watchers in the Southern Hemisphere, the constellation is low down toward the north.

When it erupts, the Blaze Star will be visible with the naked eye—for a few days only—as an additional star next to the crown.