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The star Betelgeuse going supernova soon?

  1. May 24, 2010 #1
    I saw this on another site.

    The star Betelgeuse going supernova soon?

    I was talking to my son last week (he works on Mauna Kea), and he mentioned some new observations (that will no doubt get published eventually) of "Beetlejuice"; it's no longer round. This is a huge star, and when it goes, it will be at least as bright as that 1054 supernova...except that this one is 520 light years away, not 6,300:

    SN 1054 (Crab Supernova) was a supernova that was widely seen on Earth in the year 1054. It was recorded by Chinese, Japanese, Native Americans, and Persian/Arab astronomers as being bright enough to see in daylight for 23 days and was visible in the night sky for 653 days.[1][2][3] The progenitor star was located in the Milky Way galaxy at a distance of 6,300 light years and exploded as a core-collapse supernova.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SN_1054" [Broken]

    When it collapses, it will be at least as bright as the full moon, and maybe as bright as the sun. For six weeks. So the really lucky folks (for whom Betelgeuse is only visible at night) will get 24 hour days, everybody else will get at least some time with two suns in the sky. The extra hour of light from daylight savings time won't burn the crops, but this might. Probably, all we'll get is visible light (not gamma rays or X-rays), so it shouldn't be an ELE. It's sure gonna freak everyone out, though.....

    Then it will form a black hole, but we're too far away for that to matter.

    The buzz is that this is weeks/months away, not the "any time in the next thousand years" that's in all the books.

    For your reading pleasure (and I left out the tinfoil, but a google search will turn up plenty):

    Betelgeuse is a semiregular variable star located approximately 640 light-years from the Earth[5] With an apparent magnitude ranging between 0.3 and 1.2, it is the ninth brightest star in the night sky. Although Betelgeuse has the Bayer designation Alpha Orionis (α Orionis / α Ori), it is most often the second brightest star in the constellation Orion behind α; Rigel (Beta Orionis) is usually brighter (Betelgeuse is a variable star and is on occasion brighter than Rigel). The star marks the upper right vertex of the Winter Triangle and center of the Winter Hexagon.

    Betelgeuse is a red supergiant, and one of the largest and most luminous stars known. For comparison, if the star were at the center of our solar system its surface might extend out to between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, wholly engulfing Mercury, Venus, the Earth and Mars. The angular diameter of Betelgeuse was first measured in 1920–1921 by Albert Abraham Michelson and Francis G. Pease using the 100 inch (2.5 m) John D. Hooker astronomical interferometer telescope atop Mount Wilson Observatory.

    Astronomers believe Betelgeuse is only a few million years old, but has evolved rapidly because of its high mass.[7] Due to its age, Betelgeuse may supernova within the next millennium (because it is hundreds of light years away, it possibly may have done so already).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betelgeuse" [Broken]

    http://www.solstation.com/x-objects/betelgeuse.htm" [Broken]

    http://domeofthesky.com/clicks/betelgeuse.html"

    http://earthsky.org/brightest-stars/betelgeuse-will-explode-someday"

    http://scienceray.com/astronomy/apocalypse-soon-supernova-betelgeuse-is-coming/" [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. May 24, 2010 #2
    Poor Orion is gonna lose his shoulder if that is true. Pity we won't live to see.

    I think I've been watching about this in some program, the irony was that Orion - the hunter, the archer - may actually fire upon is ;)
     
  4. May 24, 2010 #3
    Ah yes, I would love to be around when this does go Supernova. I imagine it will be quite a spectacle - I'm sure it will also be a worldwide event (If religion is still going by the time it goes boom) for astronomical / Spiritual events going on.
     
  5. May 24, 2010 #4
    Hopefully it won't be going ;) A thousand years is plenty of time for people to grow beyond stupidity and dependence
     
  6. May 24, 2010 #5
    Now that's a good quote.
     
  7. May 24, 2010 #6

    Borek

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    Somehow 4000 years were not enough.

    But we better stick to astronomy.

    I don't like the idea of supernova that close. If the estimate of the Betelgeuse becoming bright as Sun is close to reality, that means huge increase in the amount of energy delivered to the Earth surface; I am sure weather will play some dirty tricks on us.
     
  8. May 24, 2010 #7
    Could it knock out power and satellites at all? Just lucky we will all be dead!!

    Once it went Supernova, it would take 3-400 years to reach us? Is this correct?
     
  9. May 24, 2010 #8

    Borek

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    According to wikipedia it is 640 ly from us, so it will take 640 years to reach us. BUT - could be it already exploded 639 years, 11 months on 29 days ago, we just don't know yet.
     
  10. May 24, 2010 #9
    Would there not be a way to see the Star in it's current form, without waiting for it's light to reach us? Or do we simply just have to wait...

    Let's say it has gone Supernova, and it hits tomorrow, would we know? Would it act like a huge EMP on a global scale?
     
  11. May 24, 2010 #10
    Yes, but we didn't have a global information network the last 4000 years, nor all the archeological findings which were revealed the last 100 years :) Those are much needed tools for that purpose, but it is unrelated to this forum...

    The orientation of Betelgeuse does not pose a risk of a gamma outburst in our direction, the only thing we have to worry is the much slower shock wave of highly charged particles that is moving a lot slower than light. It will take many thousands of years after the observable supernova before it hits us, we'd be either way more advanced or would have destroyed ourselves by then, so little worries there :)
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2010
  12. May 24, 2010 #11

    mgb_phys

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    It's neutrino's would reach us first, but not by very long - and we don't have good neutrino telescopes.
    A supernova wouldn't be that damaging at 600lyr - unlike a GRB.
     
  13. May 24, 2010 #12

    Borek

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    We have to wait. EMP is nothing else but a burst of electromagnetic radiation, and as such it travels at the same speed all types of electromagnetic radiation do - that is, speed of light.
     
  14. May 24, 2010 #13
    Thanks for that.

    Just one question, what is a GRB?
     
  15. May 24, 2010 #14
    gamma ray burst - check my previous post
     
  16. May 24, 2010 #15
    Ah yes, sorry, missed that.

    So what causes the GRB??
     
  17. May 24, 2010 #16
  18. May 24, 2010 #17
    So why wouldn't betelgeuse send out a GRB?
     
  19. May 24, 2010 #18

    Borek

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    Just note that neutrinos are earlier not because they travel faster, but because they are produced at the earlier stage of the explosion.

    Unless I am wrong.
     
  20. May 24, 2010 #19

    Borek

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    Note that GRB is narrow - that means it is emitted in one direction. It doesn't have to shine on everything.
     
  21. May 24, 2010 #20
    It could go tomorrow or in a million years. I wouldn't hold your breath.
     
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