Betelgeuse Supernova? We May See it Soon!

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Betelgeuse May Be a Real Ghost After All

Betelgeuse. Betelgeuse. Betelgeuse…

Shoot. Nothing happened. And yes… I did say it out loud. Okay, so maybe the charismatic ghost played by Michael Keaton isn’t real. But the star after which he was named (loosely, if you care about spelling) is most certainly real. Or at least it was. Scientists believe that Betelgeuse is going supernova, and that we may see it soon. Technically, though, since Betelgeuse is over 700 light-years away, if we do see it, Beetlegeuse will have been long dead.

If you live in the Northern hemisphere and you’ve ever looked up at a clear night sky in the winter, chances are you saw Betelgeuse. It’s the star that makes up Orion’s right shoulder (the bright star on the upper left of the constellation). It’s a red supergiant, which means it’s close to the end of its life. It’s also about 12 times the mass of our sun. So if it does go supernova, it will be the brightest star in the night sky for months, and will even be visible during the day. 

Here’s a video explaining more about Betelgeuse and supernovas:

Making Predictions

Whether or not Betelgeuse goes supernova during our lifetime is still up in the air. The reality is, supernovas are pretty rare. In fact, most astronomers believe we should only see one or two per century in the Milky Way. On the other hand, we haven’t seen one since the days of Johannes Kepler in the 17th century. 

Of course, if Betelgeuse turns out to be long dead and we get to see it, there won’t be any danger to us. The massive distance between us protects us from any radiation or other negative effects. 

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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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