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What happens if Betelgeuse goes supernova?


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I was watching an episode of Wonders of the Universe the other day where Brian Cox talked about supernovas. He talked for a while about Betelgeuse, which apparently is expected to blow up in a supernova anytime now. "Anytime" in this case meaning it could go tomorrow, or it could go in 100 000 years. I was doing a bit of googling just now and came across this page:

http://www.dailytech.com/Did+You+See+the+Supernova+Last+Week/article11202.htm

Here is a quote from the article:

Gehrels added that the explosion would have vaporized any planet nearby. Likely, the gamma ray burst would have eradicated anything in its path for thousands of light years. Earth dwellers had little to worry though, as the explosion took place so far away.
Betelgeuse is only 624 light years away so this made me a little worried. After more googling I found this article:

http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2011/01/betelgeuse-could-go-nova-and-become-as-bright-as-a-full-moon.html

It says:

Betelgeuse is beyond the death beam distance -somwhere within 30 light years range- where it could do ultimate damage to Earth.The explosion won't do the Earth any harm, as a star has to be relatively close -- on the order of 25 light years -- to do that. Betelgeuse is about 600 light years distant.

So, who is right? Will we live or die when Betelgeuse goes boom? :)

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the only thing guaranteed is that when it goe's it will be cloudy here

As Betelgeuse if 600+ ly away, it may alreadu have gone supernova - perhaps it did so 599 years 364 days ago - in which case hold onto your hats.

There's a great book on supernovae, 'The Supernova Story.' http://www.amazon.com/The-Supernova-Story-Laurence-Marschall/dp/0691036330 While it would be a fine spectacle I have to say that the aestheti

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The angle of BGs poles is well away from us, there's almost certainly no danger from it.

As above when it does go (and it could be in the next 30 seconds!) it will be as bright as Venus in the daylight they suspect :)

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The first article refers to a gamma ray burst in a galaxy 7 billion light years away. The precise nature of gamma ray bursts is not yet understood but they aren't associated with ordinary supernova explosions of the kind that Betelgeuse is likely to undergo. The article does not make this clear (it's apparently recycled from CNN who got it from NASA, so some science got lost in the re-telling).

A supernova at the distance of Betelgeuse is not considered a threat. Would be great to see, though.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near-Earth_supernova

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma-ray_burst

According to Wikipedia, anything less than 100 light years is "close", and supernovae within 33 light years happen on average once every 240 million years. That means a few must have happened during the history of life on earth.

Also check out this thread:

http://stargazerslounge.com/showthread.php?t=186708

Edited by acey
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There's a great book on supernovae, 'The Supernova Story.' http://www.amazon.com/The-Supernova-Story-Laurence-Marschall/dp/0691036330

While it would be a fine spectacle I have to say that the aesthetic effect on Orion would be deplorable and I'd have to set out all over again doing a second 90 hour image of the constellation...

(Nah, maybe I'd just clone stamp it out in Photoshop, eh?) Typical imager, anything to save time.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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Orion would never be the same, he would be shoulderless poor thing! Though seeing betelguese during the day would be amazing, I hope it goes supernova during the winter months it would be very frustrating if it went when we couldn't see it!

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seeing betelguese during the day would be amazing, I hope it goes supernova during the winter months it would be very frustrating if it went when we couldn't see it!

If you want to see it in daytime then you'd better hope it goes supernova in summer. Winter is best time for viewing after sunset.:)

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What did you use for the pictures Olly?

A camera! (Phtoshop, me? Never!)

No, the base image is one I did last year with a camera lens and CCD. About 90 hours in it altogether, by now, since I keep adding bits.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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I've heard they now suspect betty is actually 400+ light years away rather than 600+ .. they still awaiting conformation. No idea if it's true or not.

Lovely images Olly :)

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Here we go... (this is very silly...)

You can sell that to the papers when it happens. You'll be days ahead of anyone else :)

James

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Funny how many differing reported distances there are for this star... extrapolating from a 101 or so sources.. it's somewhere between 427 and 650 light years away. You'd think we could settle on that first.

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Hmmm...maybe if its done using parallax to get the distance then the results could vary as everything in space is always moving? I don't know though its just a guess :S

Not sent from a Galaxy S2 on Slim ICS.

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Here we go... (this is very silly...)

SUPERNOVA-XL.jpg

Olly

sorry to slightly hijack the thread, but I've not seen those images before and thought they were amazing. I never realised there was so much gas/dust in that area. Amazes me what is occurring there on such a huge scale. It must stretch for 1000's of light years.

Edited by sgazer
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