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Could Betelgeuse Go Boom?

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the betelgeuse-betelgeuse-betelgeuse-winona dept.

Space 383

An anonymous reader writes "The answer is No. In space, nobody can hear you scream. However, it might go supernova in the near future, if it hasn't already. I wanna see that, even if it would permanently disfigure Orion. Ka freaking bam!"

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383 comments

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Nova Post! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28303537)

Boom!

Re:Nova Post! (3, Funny)

beav007 (746004) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304063)

Where was the ka-boom? There was supposed to be a betelgeuse-shattering ka-boom!!

Re:Nova Post! (4, Funny)

auLucifer (1371577) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304243)

It was only a very little supernova, also discovered by a very little astronomer

Re:Nova Post! (0)

Nakor BlueRider (1504491) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304217)

Headshot.

when it will happen (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28303555)

It's probably gonna blow the next time Lydia yells Betelgeuse 3 times.

Permanent? (0, Redundant)

Cor-cor (1330671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303559)

How could it permanently disfigure Orion? Can't you just say its name three times and have it pop right back?

Well, time to duck now.

Probable cause? (5, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303567)

Global warming.

Re:Probable cause? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28303781)

Or it could be a Hrung

Re:Probable cause? (0, Troll)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303829)

Nah, even the Gorebots wouldn't go there.... but we can be certain it is Bush's fault.

Wow, Great Summary (5, Insightful)

Kotoku (1531373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303571)

That is one heck of a summary. I really like how a line and a half of text is qualifying as a story these days.

Is it THAT slow of a news day, or could no one else possibly outdo this clown of a submitter?

You must be ... (2, Informative)

cpu_fusion (705735) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303689)

... new here. ;-)

Re:You must be ... (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304359)

In Soviet Russia, a beowulf cluster of sharks with frikken lasor beams on their heads scientology's Roland!

Re:Wow, Great Summary (3, Insightful)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303701)

I think the editors or owners of Slashdot are either 1) Trying to increase viewership by appealing to a lowest denominator (Star go boom! Big word scary! Chemicals are mean! Vroom vroom car!) or 2) Trying to deliberately weaken the readership for purposes I can only speculate that. That second theory is bolstered by the clumsy rolling out of 'features' during the past few weeks - breaking things that once worked, adding new features that don't, and in general doing their best to make the site almost more trouble to read than it's worth.

Does anyone else have any suggestions or inside information? It's almost a meme now that 'Slashdot is self-sabotauging', but lately it's just gotten noticibly worse.

Re:Wow, Great Summary (3, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303869)

I have no inside information, but it's apparent to me that Slsahdot is trying to be the new 'Facebook' or 'MySpace' for geeks. Or something. I'm expecting any day now the ability to add tacky photos, weird fonts and poor layouts to your journal pages.

Furthermore, I think that much of the original geek crowd is gone or mostly in lurk mode. So they are doing their best to attract a younger audience.

Re:Wow, Great Summary (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28304207)

Furthermore, I think that much of the original geek crowd is gone or mostly in lurk mode.

How true. Not that it was ever Shangri-La, but Slashdot did once have some interesting and informative discussions on, you know, technical matters.

So they are doing their best to attract a younger audience.

And making it another pile of useless shit like Digg or Reddit is precisely the wrong way to do that. A younger audience can be intelligent too, dontchaknow. Competing for the large but well-served market (if you can call it that) of the sort of drooling morons who argue in YouTube comments is ultimately futile.

Shorter: we can has good geek site again?

Re:Wow, Great Summary (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28304289)

Furthermore, I think that much of the original geek crowd is gone or mostly in lurk mode. So they are doing their best to attract a younger audience.

I don't think they're gone, and lurk mode depends on your definition of it. If I'm sitting around with a bunch of geeks talking about non-technical stuff, I don't think that makes it lurk mode so much as everyday conversation. When we have technical discussions on here, the level of discussion isn't the same as a professional journal but it's very impressive for a public forum filled with a diverse technical audience. It's still a common occurrence where I see posts on here that give me insight on an issue that I may never have otherwise come across; there are even fairly profound anecdotes.

I also tend to guess that people remember the olden days as being better than they were. I think the signal to noise in replies has gone up, but moderation takes care of that. The stories, well, frankly I've been here ten years now and I don't remember a time where people weren't groaning at a lot of the stories. I wasn't as regular of a reader back then, but I certainly remember vitriolic replies to every Katz story I saw.

A lot of times I see people whine about stories on here, it's seems to be myopic assholes who expect slashdot to cater to exactly their tastes to the detriment of everyone else -- and expect top shelf journalism despite it being free and them making little to no contribution of any type at all. I've seen complaints about technical stories, hard science stories, what I would call soft science interest stories, stories about new products, lots of the stories about nerd or geek culture. There's really very few types of stories that seem to be without complaint; if slashdot went the blameless route, it might have three stories a week and it'd miss a shitload of stuff that's quite interesting if you're a person who's actually curious about the world. If you want to complain about the quality of the actual writing, then I suggest you submit more stories with high quality writing -- this is a user-driven site after all.

Re:Wow, Great Summary (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304307)

Having "journal pages" was bad enough.

Re:Wow, Great Summary (4, Insightful)

Allicorn (175921) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303927)

"Show us your Warcraft main".

Your case is proven.

Re:Wow, Great Summary (3, Funny)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304001)

"Show us your Warcraft main".

Your case is proven.

Your point being?

- Nefarious Wheel, 40 years an IT geek, also PVP Geared 80 Mage, 80 Hunter

Re:Wow, Great Summary (3, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304137)

"Does anyone else have any suggestions"

1.Lay down on the floor and throw a tantrum.

2.Start your own SlashNot site.

Re:Wow, Great Summary (1)

Errtu76 (776778) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304325)

Continuing to be OT, why did the scrolling through comments become so horribly slow?

Re:Wow, Great Summary (1)

mtm_king (99722) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304393)

My two bits on this thread is - there is nothing we can do about it - things change - especially the good things - IMO /. is still cool - but like I said - things change... Love you guys (and that girl that was here once)

Re:Wow, Great Summary (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28303721)

That is one heck of a summary. I really like how a line and a half of text is qualifying as a story these days. Is it THAT slow of a news day, or could no one else possibly outdo this clown of a submitter?

or you could just lighten up.

Re:Wow, Great Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28303831)

That is one heck of a summary. I really like how a line and a half of text is qualifying as a story these days.

Is it THAT slow of a news day, or could no one else possibly outdo this clown of a submitter?

or you could just lighten up.

Or heaven forbid he could lighten up and read the fucking article. But if the summary is too short I suppose the article is TLDR.

Yep. It is. I just looked. My God, it's full of paragraphs.

Re:Wow, Great Summary (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28304037)

In 800 pixels wide it's 7 lines of text.

Not that it makes it any longer. And on a 30" it must be like half a line. Just saying...

Re:Wow, Great Summary (1)

bogeuh (1455269) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304077)

slashdot doesnt make stories, its just nerds linking to nerdy stories they StumbleUpon. now they can summarise the story and link to it or they can attempt a funny and link to it

Re:Wow, Great Summary (1)

Kotoku (1531373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304143)

I understand that, but the editors pick the stories that make the front page. They could set their standards a little higher.

I could almost take a slashvertisement over this! ;)

Betelgeuse Betelgeuse Betelgeuse (3, Funny)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303575)

Its showtime

Yes (5, Informative)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303579)

The anonymous reader is wrong. A supernova would be accompanied by a large amount of shockwaves through the star, and a large amount of pressure waves. There would be no sound, in the sense that there would be no neurological interpretations of these phenomena, but they would still happen.

Re:Yes (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303617)

It would only count as a sound if it kills a mime.

Re:Yes (1, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304363)

As compared to, it would be called noise if it created a meme.

Re:Yes (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303637)

The question for me is how long does the bad stuff last?. If the answer if less than 12 hours then I will be hoping it happens just after Betelgeuse drops below the horizon at 144 degrees east.

Re:Yes (5, Informative)

RsG (809189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303811)

Won't matter much.

First up, let me preface this by saying a supernova happening at six hundred light years is probably no big deal. Probably. However, there is some evidence that gamma ray bursts might be the product of a sufficiently massive star dying and producing a black hole, in which case we could be in trouble if we were struck be such an event at close range.

But having the bulk of the earth between yourself and such an event would not save you. Remember that we're talking about enough energy here to be detected over intergalactic distances using fairly rudimentary instruments. That much ionizing radiation will cause sufficient damage to the world's surface on the facing side to ensure the deaths of everyone globally.

However, this presumes that A) GRBs are in fact supernovae emanations, B) Betelgeuse will produce such an event if (when) it dies and C) the energy will be directed at us. There is some support for the idea that long GRBs occur as "jet" effects in two polar opposite directions, which would explain why we don't see them every time a star goes kaput. We need to be in the line of sight. If this were a common occurrence for the earth, it is very likely we would not be here at all.

Re:Yes (1)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304159)

That and the ionizing radiation would destroy the ozone layer for a time. I have heard estimates that it would take a decade to 1000 years to fully regenerate. In that time, the sun would really harm life on earth. (How much harm depends on who you ask.)

Re:Yes (1)

LVSlushdat (854194) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304345)

I read somewhere that if the star Sirius, which is only 13 LY from us, were to go supernova, which I believe its capable of, we would have a serious problem starting in 13 years after it actually happened.. If I remember correctly the article, said that life on Earth would be toast when the light speed particle storm reached us... Anybody remember seeing this or am I in the early stages of Alzheimer...

Re:Yes (1)

theArtificial (613980) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304387)

It would appear that the 2012 theorists have yet another event to consider.

quivering ejecta (1)

epine (68316) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304221)

It's likely that sound can be detected in space with the use of laser microphones. The sound won't be conducted through space, but that doesn't mean the ejecta isn't quivering, or that the quivering can't be neurologically assimilated.

Nebulous (3, Funny)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303581)

This constellation ain't big enough for two nebulae!

New doomsday scenario? (5, Interesting)

nesfreak64 (1093307) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303585)

It's 640 light years away (give or take). Would the neutrinos affect us at all? Is this another doomsday scenario? I would imagine that it'd be hellishly bright in the night sky. What does science say about it? I'm rusty on my astronomy, but it'd be awesome to see.

Re:New doomsday scenario? (0)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303613)

if there was a gammaray burst pooted in out general direction it surely would be doomsday, there have been mass extinctions in the distant past and it could happen again. have a nice day :D

Re:New doomsday scenario? (1)

nesfreak64 (1093307) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303627)

I've heard it's pointed away from us...or so they say. Can you imagine that though? Getting a sunburn at night, the night sky being nearly as bright as day?

Re:New doomsday scenario? (5, Informative)

RsG (809189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303651)

Would the neutrinos affect us at all? Is this another doomsday scenario?

Please, please tell me this was a joke. Please tell me you actually understood what a neutrino is, and were intentionally posting something absurd.

In the off-chance you were serious, a neutrino doesn't interact with matter enough to do any damage. This is not a matter of any uncertainty. A single neutrino would have a chance of passing through several light years of solid lead without interacting with a single atom. Neutrinos are sleeting through your body right now from the centre of the sun; they pass through the suns outer layers unimpeded, and if the sun isn't overhead wherever you are right now, then they've also passed through the innards of the earth.

Neutrinos can't affect us. Or the earth, or much of anything, really.

Re:New doomsday scenario? (1)

nesfreak64 (1093307) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303719)

Like I said, I've been a bit rusty on astronomy (add physics to that, too) for a while now. I was actually referring to a book (more then likely outdated, it was from the 80s) that referred to a scenario where a supergiant star the distance of Alpha Centuari from us going supernova.

Re:New doomsday scenario? (1)

RsG (809189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303919)

Ah, ok.

A supergiant going nova that close could be bad. Neutrinos wouldn't be the problem however - more likely it would be x-rays or gamma rays that would do Bad Things(TM) to the planet.

As mentioned elsewhere, there is some question as to whether observed long duration gamma ray bursts are the product of dying stars collapsing into a black hole. If that theory is correct, the final moments of a supergiant's demise produce two "jets" of gamma rays going in polar opposite directs - the "burst" is actually a far away beam that we're coincidentally in the path of. An unlikely event to be sure, but statistically not impossible, and given a large enough sample size of stars, we're bound to see a few.

The thing is, we see those events intergalacticly - stars dying in other galaxies produce GRBs visible here. Which should tell you how much energy they pack. At closer range, we'd be royally screwed. Though if such events were statistically likely, you'd expect life on earth to have been snuffed out repeatedly these past four billenia, which it has not been. There are a world of assumptions in that scenario, some of which may be disproved in the future.

Re:New doomsday scenario? (4, Informative)

Viadd (173388) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303983)

The neutrinos from a core collapse supernova would be lethal to humans at the distance of Jupiter. Any given neutrino has very little chance of hitting interacting with normal density matter it passes through, but there are a LOT of neutrinos: about 0.05 solar masses of them.

Furthermore, they are the first things that escape from the core (apart from gravitational waves) since they move at near-lightspeed and have very little chance of interacting with the envelope of the star. The big flashy special effects are driven by the shockwave from the core reaching the surface, and that takes hours. So if you were at the distance of Jupiter, you would have time to die from neutrino effects before the blast hit you.

Admittedly, Betelgeuse is somewhat further away than Jupiter, and the only neutrino effects are likely to be a lot of very excited astrophysicists. But both Jupiter and Betelgeuse are much closer than 99.9999999999999999999% of the Universe, and much further away than everyone you've ever met, so the distance scales aren't that different.

Re:New doomsday scenario? (1)

RsG (809189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304051)

The neutrinos from a core collapse supernova would be lethal to humans at the distance of Jupiter

I'm not going to put an obnoxious citation needed tag here, but damned if I wasn't tempted. That's the first I've ever heard of neutrinos being deadly to anything at all. I'm understandably sceptical.

I don't suppose you remember the source for that? I'd be curious to see the details.

That being said, the distance between the sun and Jupiter is on the order of tens of light minutes, whereas here to Betelgeuse is hundreds of light years. They may both be, as you say, close to us in astronomical terms, but that isn't saying much. Not when stacked against a few orders of magnitude, anyway.

Re:New doomsday scenario? (5, Interesting)

radtea (464814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304261)

That's the first I've ever heard of neutrinos being deadly to anything at all. I'm understandably sceptical.

The neutrino emissions from a supernova would be lethal to humans out to a light year or so. Really. Cross-section is ~10e-40 cm^2, average energy is 1 MeV-ish. You work it out.

Re:New doomsday scenario? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304373)

I was going to reply with "work it out", but I see someone beat me to it. He even provided the necessary numbers, available on wikipedia.

Of course, if you're far enough away to survive all the other particles, the neutrinos aren't going to bother you, but you're right, it's interesting to know that neutrinos could kill you. It gives you something of sense of the scale of a supernova. It's even more satisfying to be able to work it out.

Re:New doomsday scenario? (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304023)

Yes. A Neutrino is a zero without a rim.

Re:New doomsday scenario? (-1)

mark_hill97 (897586) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303661)

It will be bright enough to read by at night when it does go. The neutrinos may cause an increase in cancer rates, but humanity would survive just as we always have. Depending on how long it lasts we will likely see some climate change. But again, life will go on

Re:New doomsday scenario? (3, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303729)

The neutrinos may cause an increase in cancer rates...

The neutrinos [wikipedia.org] will do no such thing.

Re:New doomsday scenario? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303803)

The neutrinos may cause an increase in cancer rates...

The neutrinos [wikipedia.org] will do no such thing.

Lets be thankful that the ozone layer would get a well needed boost, considering what we have done to it. And the auroras would be fantastic, once particles start to arrive.

Re:New doomsday scenario? (4, Funny)

GrpA (691294) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303679)

More of note.

If it's 640 light years away, then it probably went boom 640 years ago.

Which only makes sense, since after all, 640 years should be enough for anyone.

GrpA

Re:New doomsday scenario? (0, Redundant)

shird (566377) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303771)

640 light years should be far enough for everybody.

Re:New doomsday scenario? (1, Redundant)

chill (34294) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304075)

640 light years should be enough for anyone

Re:New doomsday scenario? (1, Redundant)

s-orbital (598727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304165)

640 light years ought to be enough for anyone!

Insensitive Clod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28303587)

Things will DIE!!!!

What if it happened to you're solar system.

Re:Insensitive Clod (2, Funny)

James Skarzinskas (518966) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304087)

Well, who knows? It certainly couldn't hurt your grammar.

Aliens better shield us with something.. (0)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303597)

The yield of such a gamma ray blast might x-ray and bake us pretty nicely, but it might be distant enough, hopefully.

Re:Aliens better shield us with something.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28303625)

Time to switch out my tinfoil hat for a lead one.

Re:Aliens better shield us with something.. (2, Interesting)

Kotoku (1531373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303643)

When that happens we'll just have to say..Shit happens?

I just read a story today about a lady who missed the Air France flight that killed everyone on board and then today died in a car wreck.

I'm not ruling anything out anymore.

Re:Aliens better shield us with something.. (4, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303753)

I just read a story today about a lady who missed the Air France flight that killed everyone on board and then today died in a car wreck.

Yeah I think Alanis Morissette is working on the song as we speak.

Re:Aliens better shield us with something.. (0, Offtopic)

Kotoku (1531373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304149)

I have nothing of value to respond to that.

I'm shocked and scared.

Re:Aliens better shield us with something.. (4, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303687)

The yield of such a gamma ray blast might x-ray and bake us pretty nicely, but it might be distant enough, hopefully.

But there aren't any aliens around. I wonder if they know something we don't? What we need is a ringworld with the rotation axis at 90 degrees to the direction of Betelgeuse.

Re:Aliens better shield us with something.. (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303827)

I used 'Aliens' as a hyperbole used to signify we have no means to protect ourselves against event such as this anyway..

Re:Aliens better shield us with something.. (4, Funny)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304041)

Well, we better hope it happens during the day when the stars aren't out.

wow (2, Insightful)

Criliric (879949) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303601)

For all of us so far its part of a sight that has never changed as much as the naked eye could tell, and yet to have it possibly change... it would be cool to see, but disappointing at the same time. What I'm wondering now is not how this will affect us, but how it would affect the potential life forms out in that area of the universe, if any at all... to someone or something out there is this the end of all life as they know it? the start of a new change if the ability to move civilizations has become a reality for them? or will this be just a dot in everyone's night sky that goes out, only to be recorded in history, but never having too much of an effect on anything major?

Re:wow (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28303887)

Betelgeuse is a very young star. It's only a handful of millions of years old. It is extremely unlikely for there to be any simple life around it, and no chance of any civilizations that didn't have the ability to travel interstellar distances on their own - as if they are there, they had to come from somewhere else.

Where's the kaboom? (5, Funny)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303605)

There was supposed to be an Earth-shattering kaboom!

Re:Where's the kaboom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28304271)

Pssst. Over here.





KABOOM!!!!!!!!111!!!




kabamba. Fuck the filter.

Oh noes! (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303609)

No, sorry, not likely to be a in death throes, TFA states it is a potato shaped star that rotates every 18 years, thus it's likely an illusion.

Not big enough and close enough to be a hazard to us? ... is it??

Re:Oh noes! (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303791)

TFA states that theory predicts that it may be potato shaped. I don't think its actual shape is known.

Re:Oh noes! (2, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304025)

Potatoes come in many different shapes.

Poof (1)

C18H27NO3 (1282172) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303621)

Would be a very interesting sight to see to be sure.
My understanding is that the axis on which it spins would not force any gamma rays towards Earth's direction so it would amount to a light show and the loss of a landmark star, without danger to us.
A supernova that close would probably afford us a great deal of insight into things we aren't sure about hopefully in this generation.

Re:Poof (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303709)

My understanding is that the axis on which it spins would not force any gamma rays towards Earth's direction

That assumption relies on a lot of theory. One things for sure, if that star goes bang our theories will improve at a rapid rate.

Re:Poof (3, Informative)

RsG (809189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303995)

That assumption relies on a lot of theory. One things for sure, if that star goes bang our theories will improve at a rapid rate.

Well, put another way, the theories have to be wrong in exactly the right way for the results to be hazardous. If they're wrong in some other fashion (such as our misjudging what exactly causes a GRB), then hey, no problem. If the theories surrounding gamma ray bursts and supernovae are right, we're probably safe. They have to be mostly right, but get the directionality of the burst wrong, before we're in trouble. Or the star would have to shift on its axis and point precisely where we don't want it.

Re:Poof (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28303799)

In some countries the statement "Poof would be a very interesting sight to see to be sure" would suggest you liked to watch Gay Porn.

Good, No one liked that movie anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28303635)

Good, No one liked that movie anyway.

"That's BeetleJuice not Betelgeuse you Anonymous Bastard!"

Oh, well I stand corrected. Carry on. Nothing to see here.
 

Winona (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28303663)

would not be impressed

Obligitory Hitchhiker's reference (1)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303825)

So Ford Prefect would have his home planet's neighbour explode, too? (He comes from a planet somewhere around Betelgeuse) Pity.

Re:Obligitory Hitchhiker's reference (3, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304389)

That's not a supernova, you see, Betlegeuse was just in the way of an interstellar expressway.

What a show if it does... (5, Interesting)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303933)

...rippling bands across the ground from atmospheric turbulence, razor-sharp shadows everywhere, with prominent diffraction rings around the ones from faraway objects. And a flaming rainbow streak, blue at the top, shading down through green to red, as it rises or sets in a clear sky.

If my calculations are right, it won't burn your eyes; it would be roughly equivalent to looking into a 4-microwatt laser, not nearly strong enough to be dangerous. A 10-inch telescope could collimate it into a 5-mW beam, bright enough to see passing through the air, if only it were dark outside. The Palomar reflector would collect closer to 2 watts, enough to start fires and such.

If it happened this month, most everybody north of the Antarctic Circle would be cruelly cheated. Any time from August through April, though, it should be visible in the night sky from just about anywhere but that same Antarctic. And yes, I'd be willing to drag myself out of bed pre-dawn for this.

Heart of Gold (3, Funny)

BlackSabbath (118110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303947)

Let's hope Zaphod or Ford weren't visiting relatives at the time.

Correction - not a supernova (1)

BlackSabbath (118110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303979)

Astronomer's have confirmed it wasn't actually a supernova it was just Disaster Area tuning up for their gig tonight 600 years ago.

Re:Correction - not a supernova (4, Funny)

bnenning (58349) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304275)

it was just Disaster Area tuning up for their gig tonight 600 years ago

Please consult Dr. Streetmentioner's reference for the proper use of the Relativistic Simul-Past-Present tense.

Poor Ford (0, Redundant)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303949)

I hope this doesn't mess up his home too much

Oh no! (4, Funny)

lord_mike (567148) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303973)

I hope this doesn't interfere with the Green Orion Women Slave Trade from Star Trek...

Nearby Supergiant stars (5, Informative)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304027)

...are candidates

You get a lot of talk about how spectacular Eta Carinae would be if it went up. There's already been a Supernova "imposter" event...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eta_Carinae [wikipedia.org] ..and here's some analysis of whether it's a danger.
http://stupendous.rit.edu/richmond/answers/snrisks.txt [rit.edu] ...or has done so already
http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/246576/files/th-6805-93.ps.gz [cdsweb.cern.ch]

Finally! (1)

iris-n (1276146) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304059)

There are some jokes in the Hitchhiker's trilogy that are hard to get, but this one from the Restaurant took me the longest:

        "Did you know," interrupting the ghostly figure, fixing Zaphod with a stern look, "that Betelgeuse Five has developed a very slight eccentricy in its orbit?"

So DNA was just joking about the impeding nova, giving a clue in the disturbances it would cause in its planets' orbits.

Shit, I feel dumb.

New Sensationalist (4, Informative)

Charles Dodgeson (248492) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304065)

Somebody ought to go through back issues of the New Sensationalist [newscientist.com] and look at all of their predictions or reports of great inventions or processes "that will be commercialized in two or three years" to see what their track record is. I wonder if they can live up to the standards set by astrologers.

This isn't exactly news. (5, Interesting)

AbsoluteXyro (1048620) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304067)

We've known for some time now that Betelgeuse is a red supergiant, and we have also known that the red supergiant phase of a star's life only lasts roughly one million years, tops. Being that Betelgeuse is a few million years old, we can deduce that it may be well into it's red supergiant phase, and given that it is 600 light-years away, it is possible that the star has already gone super-nova (type II) and the resulting light from the blast has not yet reached us. Now I understand that the article is saying the star appears to be shrinking, however the star (like any red supergiant) has a history of expanding and contracting. Per the article, it could be any number of things. I really don't think it is anything to get worked up about. Not that sensationalism isn't fun.

Oh no! (4, Funny)

ggvaidya (747058) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304073)

Betelgeuse is awesome and very, very pretty - I'd hate for it to turn into another colour or vanish altogether. Isn't there someone we could petition to stop this?

And boom goes the Betelgeuse (1)

FMZ (1178473) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304089)

nt

No Boom Today, Boom Tomorrow (4, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304091)

If it's going to go boom, expect the signs of it to arrive in 2012 to coincide with other endings predicted for that year. And expect this to be a total insult to the Egyptian Pharaohs who seemed to revere that star above just about all else.

Are we really sure we're far enough away to be safe? I've heard before that a supernova even dozens of lightyears away would be a very bad thing for Earth.

Re:No Boom Today, Boom Tomorrow (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304269)

The ancient Egyptians revered Sirius much more than Betelgeuse.

Re:No Boom Today, Boom Tomorrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28304385)

Watch the festivities if Sirius blows its top... Only 13LY away.......

KABOOM!!

Hey! (1)

WSOGMM (1460481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304179)

Wasn't Ford's planet already blown up or something? Now his star system is going down the drain... that guy must have both the worst and best luck in a fictional universe.

Oblig (0, Redundant)

Schemat1c (464768) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304291)

Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse!

I can't wait (1)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304329)

Never got to see a bright supernova but I do lament the loss of Orion. I chose Orion as part of my business name, and the logo even includes the three central stars: Mintaka, Al Nilam and Al Nitak. Got to love the old Arabic names of things.

Great Collapsing Hrung Disaster (1)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304395)

Douglas Adams recorded a brief history of this catastrophe... It is only now in the near future that the light will reach Earth and that we may observe with our antiquated electromagnetic telescopes.

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