Astronomy Professor Larry Molnar, working with a small handful of undergraduate students remotely operating a tiny telescope in the desert of New Mexico, believes he has found the unfindable - a star that is about to explode.
Stellar explosions have long captured the imaginations of astronomers. These mysterious occurrences dot the history of science, yet observation of the event as it occurs has so far proved impossible - not only because of the sheer number of stars in our galaxy, but also because of the improbability of finding one that would explode within the lifetime of the observer. That Dr. Molnar is predicting this luminous red nova to be a naked eye event within the next five years is all the more remarkable.
If he’s right, every school kid in the northern hemisphere will know it.
In late 2014, production began on a documentary featuring Dr. Molnar's work. After two more years of observation, Molnar finally went public with his prediction in January 2017, leading to immediate international news coverage.