December 29, 2019

Meanwhile, in the Constellation of Orion

One of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes takes time from whatever Ren-Faire she's attending to bring us some news from the intersection of astronomy and explodimology.

It seems that he colossal red-giant star Betelgeuse, the right shoulder of the constellation Orion and heretofore one of the brightest stars in the night sky, has, over the past 3 months started dimming and over the last few weeks dramatically so.


"Unless,being 2019 and all, the light from the shoulder of Orion is dimming due to smoke from the attack ships on fire."

Hush.

If theories about these things are correct there is a possibility that the star will erupt in a supernova...soon.

A super Nova of Betelgeuse is not unexpected as the star has long been thought to be near the end of its life, though that being measured in millions of years the notion that we'd see it in our lifetimes was (and still is) considered remote.  However, if it does explode sometime in the next few months or years, the death of Betelgeuse could have profound effects on earth.

Such "profound effects" might include having every hysterical click-baity doomsayer prattling on about the end of the world ad-nauseum, as well as speculation in the media that the obliteration of Orion's shoulder is due to Russian collusion or global warming and celebrations in certain quarters of the replacement of the previous ableist constellation with a more diverse one.

However, at 430 light years away (give or take 100LY) Betelgeuse is far too distant to provide a radiation hazard from a super nova. The non-secondary effects are likely to be  limited to having the star be much brighter than a full moon for several weeks or months resulting in near daylight at midnight at certain times and presenting two suns in the daytime sky during others. If it transpired, we will notice it but on the off chance that it actually goes all 'splody the only dangers it would pose are likely to be people walking into trees while looking at it.

Of course, whatever transpires from this, it will have already happened...330-530 years ago.


That orange thing in the upper left (our left, not Orion's left )...it's going away...someday.
 

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 11:34 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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