When will Betelgeuse explode

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Profile Bob DeWoody
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Message 1838558 - Posted: 29 Dec 2016, 16:24:42 UTC

Every night in the winter time when I go outside I look up at Orion with the faint hope that Betelgeuse will have gone supernova or even better that I will be looking when that first burst of light makes us aware that a major event has happened. Oh, I know that this event is probably a million years off but wouldn't it be amazing if our generation got to witness the explosion of such a star.

OK, am I alone here or do some of you look up hoping to see a star go supernova.
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Message 1838603 - Posted: 29 Dec 2016, 19:54:08 UTC

I do always wonder about that one, myself. They say it has been pulsing in brightness on ~15-year cycles for at least a hundred years now, which as far as everything we know about the end of a star's life, means that on a cosmological time scale.. it's going to go any second now. On that scale, "any second now" could be a million or more years.

The other thing to take into consideration is that it is.. what, about 630 lightyears away. There is every possibility that it already went, but we won't know about it until the light gets here. It could have gone 300 years ago, but we'd still have to wait another 300 to find out.

The cool thing about what all the experts seem to agree on is that Betelgeuse is far enough away that we've basically got front row seats to the show and will be safe...as opposed to Sirius' proximity for when it goes boom: we're vaporized. If not from the full spectrum of radiation, definitely from the ion storm that would be billions of times the intensity of the strongest solar flare we've got on record.

Betelgeuse would be amazing to watch, Sirius.. we probably won't even be aware that it happened before being wiped-out.

I mention Sirius in this thread about Betelgeuse because.. on the cosmological time scale.. both of them are going to go very soon.
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Message 1838655 - Posted: 29 Dec 2016, 22:21:59 UTC
Last modified: 29 Dec 2016, 22:30:00 UTC

Sirius A is thought to be about 200 -- 300 million years old. It's expected to leave the main sequence in about 700 to 800 million years. At that time it will presumably turn into a red giant, and may interact with its white dwarf companion, Sirius B, causing the latter to form a type 1a supernova.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sirius

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernova
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Message 1838747 - Posted: 30 Dec 2016, 4:57:38 UTC - in response to Message 1838558.  

Every night in the winter time when I go outside I look up at Orion with the faint hope that Betelgeuse will have gone supernova or even better that I will be looking when that first burst of light makes us aware that a major event has happened.

So do I:)
And perhaps Betelgeuse have gone supernova already.
It takes 520 years before we know.
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Message 1838829 - Posted: 30 Dec 2016, 13:36:52 UTC

Here's an interesting article on recent research into the effects of past supernovae nearby, and effects on earth.
http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2016/jul/18/nearby-supernovae-could-have-affected-life-on-earth
“Upon opening the box, Schroedinger's raccoon will be observed in one of three possible states; alive, dead, or really, really pissed off.”
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Profile Gordon Lowe
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Message 1839728 - Posted: 3 Jan 2017, 1:47:35 UTC - in response to Message 1838829.  

From the article, concerning muons:
Although this would not wipe out life on Earth, statistically it may have caused some "minor" mass extinctions, as well as cell mutations that potentially sparked a burst in evolution.

I find that to be pretty interesting.


I also am like Bob in that I would love to look up into the sky and see something interesting like that. It would boggle my mind!
The mind is a weird and mysterious place
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Profile Gary CharpentierCrowdfunding Project Donor
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Message 1839757 - Posted: 3 Jan 2017, 5:35:23 UTC - in response to Message 1838747.  

Every night in the winter time when I go outside I look up at Orion with the faint hope that Betelgeuse will have gone supernova or even better that I will be looking when that first burst of light makes us aware that a major event has happened.

So do I:)
And perhaps Betelgeuse have gone supernova already.
It takes 520 years before we know.

Don't think you would want to have the gamma rays from that. While the magnetosphere is pretty good at holding back the sun, you will need a mile of rock to hold back a supernova at that distance.
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Profile Bob DeWoody
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Message 1839759 - Posted: 3 Jan 2017, 5:38:49 UTC
Last modified: 3 Jan 2017, 5:47:00 UTC

I think most astrophysicists agree that at 630 LY. plus or minus we are safe from whatever Betelgeuse flings our way. Now I read it is 530 LY. and they are still not sure of that.
Bob DeWoody

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Message 1839893 - Posted: 4 Jan 2017, 6:37:09 UTC - in response to Message 1839757.  


Don't think you would want to have the gamma rays from that. While the magnetosphere is pretty good at holding back the sun, you will need a mile of rock to hold back a supernova at that distance.

Then the people working at Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso have a good chance to survive. They are both male and female, so they might rebuild mankind.
Tullio
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Message 1839911 - Posted: 4 Jan 2017, 11:59:55 UTC

Humanity survived SN 1054(better known as Crab Nebula now) okay, humanity will survive this one - It's just about 1/10 the distance. Unless it's got its axis aimed right at us, then it might be another thing.

Though honestly I'd expect Eta Carinae to go first, and neither anywhere near the lifetime of any currently living thing on this planet.
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Message 1839981 - Posted: 4 Jan 2017, 20:34:49 UTC
Last modified: 4 Jan 2017, 20:35:56 UTC

Fast Radio Burst 121102 , with a power of 500 million Suns emitted in a millisecond, has been pinpointed in the Auriga constellation at two and a half billion light years by three radiotelescopes, Arecibo, the Socorro Very Large Array and a European network.The FRBs were first found in Parkes records but they are not repeating, so it is difficult to pinpoint them. 20 of them are known but only FRB 121102 is repeating. The origin of their power is a mystery. The emitting source is a dwarf galaxy.
Tullio
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Message 1839994 - Posted: 4 Jan 2017, 21:46:12 UTC

Celestia computer similulation depiction of Orion as it might appear from Earth when Betelgeuse explodes as a supernova.

Apparantly the "best guess" is that the event is of under 100,000 years.
I will probably miss the event...
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Message 1839998 - Posted: 4 Jan 2017, 22:09:37 UTC
Last modified: 4 Jan 2017, 22:14:18 UTC

It appears that even a supernova would have to be pretty close to do us harm. The article linked below has an astronomer saying it would need to be within about 30 light years. Other sources give figures of 50 to 100 light years.


http://www.spaceanswers.com/deep-space/how-close-would-a-supernova-have-to-be-to-destroy-life-on-earth/
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Message 1840260 - Posted: 6 Jan 2017, 2:12:57 UTC

Wouldn't our current space telescopes see something like this before we do with the naked eye, since they're looking back in time?
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Message 1840262 - Posted: 6 Jan 2017, 2:38:10 UTC - in response to Message 1840260.  

No, the speed of light precludes that.
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Message 1840270 - Posted: 6 Jan 2017, 3:13:15 UTC - in response to Message 1840260.  
Last modified: 6 Jan 2017, 3:25:36 UTC

You'd have some kind of early warning before the lights would start to arrive from the neutrino flux generated at the beginning of such an event, before lights generated would reach the surface of the star, but that had nothing to do with looking back in time - You'd be looking back in time all the same with your 1x7 binocular Mk0 eyeballs as well.
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Message 1840450 - Posted: 6 Jan 2017, 22:19:49 UTC

The neutrinos would let you know something happen before the visible light shows up. For something like Sirius.. we're talking a few seconds between the two of them. But for more-distant ones are going to have a larger margin.
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Message 1840497 - Posted: 7 Jan 2017, 0:32:38 UTC - in response to Message 1840450.  

The neutrinos would let you know something happen before the visible light shows up. For something like Sirius.. we're talking a few seconds between the two of them. But for more-distant ones are going to have a larger margin.

No. Photons (visible light) travels faster than neutrinos.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faster-than-light_neutrino_anomaly
Neutrinos have small but nonzero mass, and so special relativity predicts that they must propagate at speeds slower than light. Nonetheless, known neutrino production processes impart energies far higher than the neutrino mass scale, and so almost all neutrinos are ultrarelativistic, propagating at speeds very close to that of light.
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Message 1840549 - Posted: 7 Jan 2017, 5:50:55 UTC - in response to Message 1840497.  

In the 1987 supernova event neutrinos arrived before photons, not because they are faster but because photons take a longer time traversing the core of the star.
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Message 1840568 - Posted: 7 Jan 2017, 8:01:01 UTC

Whipped up this image of what SN 1054 would probably have looked like in Stellarium: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SN_1054_4th_Jul_1054_043000_UTC%2B0800_Kaifeng.png - Incidentally Betelgeuse is in that image as well, but not exploding.

Now it would truly be amazing to have that happen again, but about 5 magnitudes/100x brighter. That's probably about as bright as a full moon, but all from about a single point - Which probably meant you can light fires with it with a sufficiently large magnifying glass, something you cannot do with moonlight.

Might be suitable to think of this as a gift cosmic lottery ticket, and the only way to find out if you won big or not is to wait.
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Message boards : Science (non-SETI) : When will Betelgeuse explode


 
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