Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Space The Media Science

Betelgeuse To Blow Up Soon — Or Not 312

Posted by Soulskill
from the freaking-out-over-lights-in-the-sky dept.
rubycodez writes "A wave of 2012-related hoopla has hit the internet about the star that makes the 'right shoulder' of Orion the hunter: Betelgeuse. Astronomer Phil Plait once again puts rumors to rest. The star will indeed explode as a type II supernova, and when it does it will be brighter than Venus when viewed from Earth, though not as bright as the full moon. It will be visible in the night sky for weeks, and could be visible in the day sky for a short time. But that event could happen today or 100,000 years from now, or as much as a million years from now. Since Betelgeuse is over 600 light-years away, its violent death will not harm Earth in any way, but will definitely provide a huge bonanza of scientific information about supernovae. As geeks, we can only hope the core of Betelgeuse undergoes catastrophic failure in our lifetime."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Betelgeuse To Blow Up Soon — Or Not

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Soon? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, 2011 @04:21PM (#34967076)

    To you and the other 17 people who have already stated this and who will state this, we know. But we don't mention it, because it's irrelevant. Some of those who state it are just pointing out an interesting fact, which is fine, but to those who are stating it like it changes the story itself, or the importance of the story, or the facts of the story--shut up.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, 2011 @04:23PM (#34967098)

    What makes this post so interesting is that you were the first person to say it.

  • We do? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, 2011 @04:30PM (#34967164)

    As geeks, we can only hope the core of Betelgeuse undergoes catastrophic failure in our lifetime.

    I dunno. Betelgeuse staying the way it is suits me pretty good. 1). Orion is the most recognizable constellation there is. It's supposed to be a man with outstretched arms, and well, it looks like one -- with his belt, and the 4 brightest stars. Yeah, they're his shoulders and knees, but so what 2). Betelgeuse is a bight star, and it's noticeably red. So it's a good example of star colors. Right next to Aldebaran, Antares, and Sirius, nearby and also red and blue (blue-white) 3). If it blows tomorrow, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy will soon be confusing. Well, more so. And that's a great geek book. Basically, the only people left out seriously will be kids. But seriously, Betelgeuse, is an important tool for teaching children. Not like there's much we can do about it.

  • by DJLuc1d (1010987) on Saturday January 22, 2011 @04:48PM (#34967280)
    There is a mistake in thinking like this. You assume an absolute version of time. Relativity shows us that this is not the case. There is no universal time clock, and since nothing can be transmitted faster than light, not even information (barring crazy stuff like quantum entanglement) - it only matters when we observe it. Like the uncertainty principle, all common thinking tells is is that the atom must have a definite position and velocity - but it doesn't because we can't measure it. Same applies here, we can't measure things until the information reaches us, so that is when it happens.
  • by Shimmer (3036) <brianberns@gmail.com> on Saturday January 22, 2011 @05:59PM (#34967774) Homepage Journal

    We can't measure things until the information reaches us, so that is when it happens.

    I think you are misunderstanding relativity, or perhaps just miscommunicating it.

    Example: Some cosmic microwave background radiation [wikipedia.org] from the early universe is just reaching Earth today. That doesn't mean that the universe is young "now".

    My understanding of relativity is that you can still use distance = speed * time to figure out when an event occurred in your reference frame. You just have to give up the notion that everyone else will agree with you.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

Working...