At the beginning of the 3rd century civil war raged in Britain as the Roman emperor Septimius Severus sought to quell unrest in the north.
But unknown to the fighting cohorts and Caledonian tribes, high above their heads two stars were coming together in a huge cataclysmic explosion.
Now 1800 years later the light from that collision will finally arrive on Earth creating a new star in the night sky - dubbed the ‘Boom Star - in an incredibly rare event which is usually only spotted through telescopes.
Before their meeting the two stars were too dim to be seen by the naked eye, but in 2022, the newly formed Red Nova will burn so brightly in the constellation Cygnus that everyone will be able to to see it.
“For the first time in history, parents will be able to point to a dark spot in the sky and say, ‘Watch, kids, there’s a star hiding in there, but soon it’s going to light up,” said Dr Matt Walhout, dean for research and scholarship at Calvin College, Michigan, where the prediction was made.
For around six months the Boom Star will be one of the brightest in the sky before gradually dimming, returning to its normal brightness after around two to three years.
It is the first time scientists have ever predicted the birth of a new star and astronomers in Britain said it would be a fascinating and important event which is likely to trigger a race to be the first to record the phenomenon.
Dr Robert Massey, of the Royal Astronomical Society, said: “What we’re talking about you might literally call the birth of a new star which should be very visible.
“The good news for people in the UK is that it is in the constellation Cygnus which is always above the horizon and is very high in the sky in the summer, so everyone will be able to see it.
“Nobody has ever managed to predict the birth of a star before so this is really unprecedented and I think there will be a race among amateur astronomers, and members of the public to spot it first.”
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