Red Betelgeuse Star Close to Supernova

June 10, 2009

(ChattahBox)—The Red Supergiant Betelgeuse star may soon collapse in a massive supernova explosion that we may have a chance to witness in our lifetimes, say U.C. Berkeley researchers. Betelgeuse is the second brightest star in the Orion constellation, a shining beacon that we all have seen while gazing up at the nighttime sky.

New data released by Berkeley researchers indicate that Betelgeuse is inching closer to collapse, as it has shrunk by a stunning 15 percent over the past 15 years. Researchers believe Betelgeuse is only a few million years old, which is relatively young for a star, but red supergiants tend to burn out more quickly because of their large mass.

Red supergiants are the largest stars in the universe when measuring volume. Red stars nearing the end of their life, burn out hydrogen fuel and then switch to helium, carbon and other elements in a series of partial collapses and possible restarts.

Researchers believe Betelgeuse is at the collapse stage and may explode into a supernova once its iron fuel is depleted. A supernova explosion would result in a big fireworks show, blasting newly created elements into the universe and leaving behind a much smaller neutron star.

Zaphod Beeblebrox, the fictional character in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” resided in a small planet near the Betelgeuse star, famously uttering, “Let’s trip the Light Fantastic, baby, just you and me.” The Movie “Beetlejuice,” derived its name from the giant star.

Since Betelgeuse is 600 light-years away it may have already exploded, and it’s just a matter of time before we witness the colorful supernova explosion.

Source


Comments

3 Responses to “Red Betelgeuse Star Close to Supernova”

  1. Red Betelgeuse Star Close to Supernova « AddingInfo.com on June 10th, 2009 7:20 pm

    […] star in the Orion constellation, a shining beacon that we all have seen while gazing up at … Read Full Post: Red Betelgeuse Star Close to Supernova Adding Related Info:Nearby Star May Be Getting Ready to Explode – Myfoxla.comSupernova remnant is […]

  2. ReginaldL on June 11th, 2009 8:04 am

    Pure Hype. Read the actual press release – http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2009/06/09_betelim.shtml

    Journalism – who needs objectivity?

  3. Betelgeuse supernova could appear in sky any day. « Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff) on June 11th, 2009 3:37 pm

    […] Researchers believe Betelgeuse is at the collapse stage and may explode into a supernova once its iron fuel is depleted. A supernova explosion would result in a big fireworks show, blasting newly created elements into the universe and leaving behind a much smaller neutron star. – chattahbox […]

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