Thursday, 12 April 2012

...We'll Have a Second Sun Soon.

Well, not soon as we define soon. But soon within the cosmic reality of the universe soon, within the next 1,000,000 years or so. There is going to be a huge supernova (exploding star) and the light from it will shine on the earth for weeks. We won't be able to tell night from day when it happens.

We'll all end up like this.
The star in question is Betelgeuse. It's a bit of a mystery to astronomers, they don't quite know exactly how far it is away or it's mass but have some good guesses. Not knowing the mass is why we can't say for sure when it will blow, but its estimated to be at least as heavy as 10 of our suns (about 20,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kgs). It could have collapsed already and we don't even know it, since it will take 640 years for us to see the explosion. What they do know is that it is the 8th brightest star in the sky and is so large that if it were to replace our sun it would reach Jupiter. You 've seen it before, we all have. Its the left shoulder of the constellation Orion (upper right section).

Hey there!
It's also thought to be a runaway star. These things scare me. Runaway stars are stars that were once paired with another star of similar size and type. As they slowly moved through space, one of the stars will fall victim to a black hole. As one gets sucked in the other gets slingshoted millions of miles an hour. Its name comes from what could be a few Anglicized Arabic words such as the Arabic name for the constellation and possibly the word for 'armpit' as that is where the star is located on the Hunter.

And that is what I learned today.

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