Science fiction may be coming to life as a red super-giant star is expected to go supernova, and light from the blast may reach Earth before 2012.
Betelguese, the second largest star in the Orion constellation, is losing mass, which scientists say is a clear sign that a gravitation collapse is occurring.
Brad Carter, Ph.D., senior lecturer of physics at the University of Southern Queensland, told the Herald Sun in Australia that Earth may soon see a second sun.
“This old star is running out of fuel in its center”, Carter said. “This fuel keeps Betelgeuse shining and supported. When this fuel runs out the star will literally collapse in upon itself and it will do so very quickly.”
However, some say the star may have already exploded and light from the event just hasn’t reached earth yet. It is estimated that Betelguese is 430 to 640 light years away. If it is just 430 light years away and the light is going to reach Earth next year, that means the star went supernova in 1582. That same year, Pope Gregory XIIII rejected the Julian calendar in favor of the Gregorian calendar.
People need not worry about any harm being done to the Earth because of the star’s explosion. Betelguese is 25 times further than the distance required for an exploding star to do any damage to Earth.
“They will flood through the Earth and bizarrely enough, even though the supernova we see visually will light up the night sky, 99 per cent of the energy in the supernova is released in these particles that will come through our bodies and through the Earth with absolutely no harm whatsoever,” Carter told news.com.au.