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I've heard that KIC 9832227 is a contact binary star system that is expected to merge and explode as a "red nova" sometime in the next ~5 years or so.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/01/colliding-stars-will-light-night-sky-2022

Before that happens, I'd like to see it. Where would I need to be / what sort of equipment would I need in order to be able to view this before it goes nova?

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    $\begingroup$ Just to be clear, as many people new to astronomy (don't know your experience) don't understand these things, but KIC 9832227 is 1843 light years away and you won't see anything but a single point of light optically (not two points of light, as "binary" may give the contrary impression). $\endgroup$ – StephenG May 5 '17 at 12:59
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Right now it doesn't look like much. It has a magnitude of about 12. And appears as a single point of light. So it requires the upper end of amateur equipment to observe. If you want to measure the variation, which is only 0.2 magnitudes, you would need to take images. So you would need a proper photo-imaging system.

In other words it is a tricky amateur target. You could try using an online telescope. The star is within the range of the Bradford robotic telescope. (Except this is offline and doesn't have an expected date to be back in service :(

In the Digital sky survey (using professional equipment), the star appears in the centre of this image. This has very high magnification, this image is about 4 arcminutes across, about 1/8 the apparent size of the moon.

enter image description here

It is hard to give an exact spec. There is a formula: $m=\log_{10}(D)\times 5 + 7$ which calculates the limiting magnitude $m$, from the diameter of the mirror in cm $D$. This suggests you need at least 13cm mirror. However it assumes clear and stable skies, so in practice you would need something clearly in excess of that.

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    $\begingroup$ A 13-cm mirror (or larger) would certainly benefit from an adaptive optic system. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft May 5 '17 at 11:31

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