Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Betelgeuse - the end of the world?



When next you look heavenward and identify the constellation of Orion the Hunter, glance to his right shoulder (bottom left in the Southern Hemisphere, as Orion stands on his head there!) and you will see Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis), the eighth (some sources say ninth) brightest star in the night sky.

Betelgeuse, more than 600 light years distant from this planet, is a dying red supergiant scheduled to exhaust its fuel supply, collapse under its own weight and explode into a new existence as a supernova any time between now and the next 100,000 years. It will then be so brilliant that it will be visible in broad daylight and brighter than the moon.

Some journalists have seized the opportunity to link this with the prediction that the world will end in 2012, claiming that there will be two suns in the sky. Astronomers discount this as irresponsible scaremongering. Betelgeuse is too far away to make any impact on Earth.

So, gaze at the firmament with wonder and enjoy Betelgeuse while you may!

15 comments:

  1. I didn't know that people were linking this star with 2012. I loved the video.

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  2. I often wonder why it is that people imagine the earth will end with a bang soon. Is it because the don't want to leave before everyone else has gone as well? You know like not being the first to leave a party. If the party ends with a bang you won't miss out on anything.

    Fanciful thinking on my part perhaps, but still I wonder.

    Thanks for this, Janice. It is a joy to ponder on the beauty of the firmament.

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  3. I don't believe Betelgeuse as supernova will cause any catastrophe, but it will be a sight to behold!

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  4. 2012 doesn't sound good for the end of the world. It should be a round number like 2050 than I would be 107 and my end took place probably before.

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  5. I was looking at it only last night... the one thing on my android phone that I like to use is the app that shows you what stars and planets are in the sky above you, absolutely fascinating.

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  6. Oh no... one more thing to worry about! Just kidding. We have too many other things to worry about now without adding two suns to it.

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  7. Have you seen the new 3D images of the sun? I'm fascinated with all that is out there.

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  8. Haha, lets see if we will see two suns next year!

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  9. Interesting info, Janice, I love the videos. These very bright stars are beautiful to look at. Didn't know there was another "end" prediction.

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  10. How interesting, I will look for it (if we ever get a clear sky) If we are doomed next year I'm going to book two weeks in the bahamas before it's too late. Ha! Ha!

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  11. Last week I tried to take some star-photos that didn't come out as I had hoped. It was the first time I tried it, had great fun, but it ended up as a black shot with some white dots. Nothing like the real thing.
    Betelgeuze reminded me of Beetlejuice, which I thought was a fun movie ;-)

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  12. All scaremongering aside, what an amazing star. . .and great video. Thanks for sharing, and as always, giving me something new to ponder.
    Happy Wednesday!

    p.s. word verif.: thysific
    doesn't this apply somehow ? :O)

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  13. I was never good at stras. This constellation and the two main stars Betleguese was the first Science I had when i went to secndary school. I remember the three little stars inside.

    I am still not good in stars.

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  14. Every generation is sure they are in the middle of the end of the world, just as Hitler was the Anti-Christ (and so was Ronald Wilson Reagan, whose name numbered 666!).

    Having said that, thanks for a nifty piece of debunking. That Mayan prophecy stuff is constantly pushed by the corporate media to keep us off balance and scared! Thanks for visiting my blog, hon. Amy

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  15. Interesting to be sure, but the world's end is greatly overpredicted.

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