Thursday, January 20, 2011

Two Suns in our Sky


Ever wonder what it would be like to gaze upon the sky and see two suns? Well you might just get the chance.

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(Yes, any day now we could see a second sun light up the sky, if only for a matter of weeks.

The infamous red super-giant star in Orion’s nebula - Betelgeuse - is predicted to go gangbusters and the impending super-nova may reach Earth before 2012, and when it does, all of our wildest Star Wars dreams will come true.

When this happens a giant explosion will occur, tens of millions of times brighter than the sun.
The bad news is, it could also happen in a million years. But who's counting?
The important thing is, one day, night will become day for several weeks on Earth.

The interwebs is being flooded with doomsday theories saying the impending supernova confirms the Mayan calendar’s prediction of the Armageddon in 2012.
These conspiracies aren’t helped by the word “Betelgeuse” being associated with the devil.

Far from being a sign of the apocalypse, according to Dr Carter the supernova will provide Earth with elements necessary for survival and continuity.

“When a star goes bang, the first we will observe of it is a rain of tiny particles called neutrinos,” says Dr Carter.

“They will flood through the Earth and bizarrely enough, even though the supernova we see visually will light up the night sky, 99 per cent of the energy in the supernova is released in these particles that will come through our bodies and through the Earth with absolutely no harm whatsoever.”

Some experts have speculated Betelgeuse’s explosion may cause a neutron star or result in the formation of a black hole approximately 1300 light years from Earth, but Dr Carter says it could go either way.

“There’s a reasonably even chance of a neutron star or a black hole”, he says.

“If it were me, I’d suspect it would more likely become a black hole at 20 solar masses.”)

-Nemesis-

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