Prepare for a rare nova after the eclipse.  

After Monday's eclipse fever, a spectacular cosmic event awaits. Northern Crown, Corona Borealis, is between Hercules and Boötes in the night sky.  

The constellation's red giant and white dwarf binary star system is T Coronae Borealis, or T CrB. About every 80 years, it bursts.  

This is one of five periodic novas in our galaxy. Due to its binary nature, T CrB has a white dwarf and red giant.   

As the red giant becomes unstable from its rising warmth and pressure and ejects its outer layers, the white dwarf accumulates that debris on its surface.  

The shallow dense atmosphere of the white dwarf heats up sufficiently to create a runaway thermonuclear reaction, causing the Earth-visible nova.  

Novae from Corona Borealis were seen in 1866 and 1946, but NASA scientists expect them again this year between now and September.  

Normally invisible, the star system could appear as bright as Polaris for several days. 

It may be seen with binoculars for a week, but then it will fade for 80 years.  

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