Monday, 27 May 2019

Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse...Oops

The constellation of Orion is one of the most famous and recognisable sights in the night sky and is used as a pointer to many other stars and constellations but not many people know what is hidden inside of the hunters right shoulder (or left shoulder looking at it).
Despite being approximately 500 light years away (or 500 x 5.88 trillion miles), Betelgeuse is one of the brightest stars in the sky and it will get even brighter because it is near the end of it's lifetime and has already reached the first red supergiant stage where it expands out and now is due to collapse under its own weight after which it will then rebound in a spectacular supernova explosion
10,000 times brighter than the Sun which will be visible from Earth even during the daytime and be as bright as the moon.
Pretty cool but nobody knows when it will happen, or as we wouldn't know for 500 years when it did it could already have happened, but it could be tomorrow or could happen in a million years, but as the star is so far away, us Earthlings are safe as we would have to be within 50 light-years of a supernova for it to harm us and Betelgeuse is nearly 10 times this distance.
As we have no ageing, massive stars collapsing in on itself located within 50 light-years of Earth we can breath easy that we won't all be fried and the nearest supernova candidate we have found is the star IK Pegasi B a safe 150 light-years away.
As for the pronunciation, some people go with Betel-geise but on the whole it's 'Beetle-juice' like the film, just don't say it three times.

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