Earth May Be Getting A Second Sun. For A Bit.
Betelgeuse is a pissed off red supergiant star. Soon, Betelgeuse is going to go supernova. According to Alasdair Wilkins in an article at io9, this is going to be particularly righteous for the citizens of Earth. You know, provided we’re alive and such.
The star is located in the Orion constellation, about 640 light-years away from Earth. It’s one of the bright and biggest stars in our galactic neighborhood – if you dropped it in our Solar System, it would extend all the way out to Jupiter, leaving Earth completely engulfed. In stellar terms, it’s predicted to explode in the very near future. Of course, the conversion from stellar to human terms is pretty extreme, as Betelgeuse is predicted to explode anytime in the next million years.
Out-fucking-standing. Notice the phrase “in stellar terms, it’s predicted to explode in the very near future.” I get the feeling we’re all going to be dead when it occurs. But wait, what is this going to look like?
But still, whether the explosion occurs in 2011 or 1002011 (give or take 640 years for the light to reach Earth), it’s going to make for one of the most unforgettable light shows in our planet’s history. For a few weeks, the supernova will be so bright that there will appear to be two stars in the sky, and night be will indistinguishable from day for much of that time. So don’t count on getting a lot of sleep when Betelgeuse explodes, because the only sensible thing for the world to do will be to throw a weeks-long global supernova party.
A few weeks of permanent daylight across the globe? This is fucking amazing. If you’re often wondering what the point of trudging along in your empty life, and you need a reason to live: stick it out for this.