Tuesday 24 May 2022

Josepeh Baxendell and the Blaze Star


The Manchester based astronomer Joseph Baxendell (1815-1887) who was a prolific observer of variable stars discovered one of the most famous nova, T Corona Borealis or as it became known as the ‘Blaze Star’.

I should mention that the star was also observed by the Iris astronomer John Birmingham.

On May 12th 1866 he saw the star at magnitude 2.0, nova were not new, they had been observed by astronomers before, this star was followed until it faded from view. However what made this star so famous was that it went nova again on February 9th 1946. Although other stars had been observed to go through the nova process more than once, T Corona Borealis was by far the brightest, hence it’s name the ‘Blaze Star’.

Astronomers watching the star today wonder when it will next blaze forth and become a nova for a third time.

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