General, Research, Technology

The supernova nearest to Earth is about to explode. How does this threaten earthlings?

Betelgeuse star from the constellation Orion isone of the brightest stars in the sky of the northern hemisphere of our planet. Despite the fact that the age of this reddish celestial body is only 8.5 million years - the “infant age” by cosmic standards - Betelgeuse dies, risking about to explode and turn into a bright spot in the Earth’s night sky, which will not yield in brightness glow during the full moon. However, although the scientific world has been monitoring the activity of the star for quite some time, the supernova explosion for some reason does not occur, and Betelgeuse herself simply gradually fades. Are physicists mistaken about the evolution of stars?

Betelgeuse - one of the brightest stars in the northern hemisphere of the planet

Will Betelgeuse explode?

As you know, giant stars die quitedramatically - their last moments of life are associated with a powerful cataclysm - a supernova explosion and the creation of a bright nebula from gas and dust. The core of a dying star turns into a so-called neutron star, which is an extremely dense cosmic object. If the size of a dead star was huge even by cosmic standards, a black hole will form at the place of its death - the strangest object in the Universe, which has a powerful gravitational force. Fortunately for us, the Betelgeuse star, in view of her size, was supposed to end her life as a supernova with all the ensuing consequences, but for some reason this does not happen. According to an article published on livescience.com, Betelgeuse is likely to gradually enter the final phase of the supernova in such an original way, fading until it gradually collapses, provoking a powerful release of energy. Due to the fact that the star is located at a distance of 642.5 light years from Earth, a supernova explosion will be visible even from the surface of our planet, representing the brightest object in the night sky for several weeks. Scientists believe that such a phenomenon will become the second observed explosion of a dying object in the history of mankind after a similar event that occurred in 1054 A.D. It is believed that just then there was an explosion of a star that gave rise to the modern Crab Nebula.

See also: NASA has found new evidence that our Sun is not an ordinary star

The explosion that led to the birth of the Crab Nebula was visible from the surface of the Earth in 1054 A.D.

Researchers believe that in that dyingthe star fades - there is nothing surprising. The thing is that Betelgeuse belongs to the class of so-called variable stars - stars whose brightness changes over time. However, despite the fact that the star may explode already tonight, a decrease in its brightness may indicate the presence of very interesting physical processes occurring inside Betelgeuse. Thus, internal instability can partially explain the appearance of energy waves inside the star, moving matter from the inside out and alternately causing the star to expand or contract. In addition, changes in the brightness of a space object can also occur due to its magnetic activity, which is very difficult to model using modern equipment. Be that as it may, the supernova nearest to the Star is about to explode, showing the inhabitants of the Earth a truly grandiose cosmic spectacle. And most importantly - absolutely safe.

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