Imminent supernova!


Betelgeuse is an old star that could explode any moment from the red super giant stage to supernova. The movie above is a simulation of what we could see when that happens. When it does explode, the people of Earth could have two months of continuous light. The star is a famous one among amateur astronomers not only for its size and brightness, but also because it is part of Orion, a bright winter constellation in the Northern Hemisphere. It easy to find as the top left shoulder or Orion

Professional astronomers also keep a close eye on the star, as it is notoriously variable: its diameter changes from anywhere between 550 to 920 times the sun’s diameter. In 2013, astronomers said Betelgeuse is likely to crash into a “cosmic wall” of interstellar dust in a few thousand years.

When astronomers say Betelgeuse is expected to explode soon, they mean shortly in astronomical terms: within a million years, according to several sources. Predicting exactly when it will turn into a supernova is difficult, however, as it depends on precise calculations of its mass as well as an understanding of what is going on inside the star.


8 comments on “Imminent supernova!

  1. It’s a pity that it is highly unlikely that it will supernova during our lifetimes or even our great grand-children’s lifetimes. Also, I was under the assumption that the light we see from stars is actually old light that is years old. So even if it DID supernova, we wouldn’t see the light from it for many many years after, as light takes time to travel, correct?


  2. First of all, Betelgeuse is my favorite Tim Burton movie, commonly known as Beetlejuice. But in an astronomical sense, I really hope that we will be able to see this. Have we been able to see any other star go supernova? I’m not sure… But is it possible that it could have exploded already and the light just hasn’t reached us yet? This is exciting.


  3. It’s bittersweet to think that we could experience something like this in our lifetime, though its effects on our planet may be unpredictable, it would be an amazing phenomenon to document and it could provide strong evidence about other stars/suns in Orion and the activity that they are experiencing inside.


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