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Betelgeuse To Blow Up Soon — Or Not

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the freaking-out-over-lights-in-the-sky dept.

Space 312

rubycodez writes "A wave of 2012-related hoopla has hit the internet about the star that makes the 'right shoulder' of Orion the hunter: Betelgeuse. Astronomer Phil Plait once again puts rumors to rest. The star will indeed explode as a type II supernova, and when it does it will be brighter than Venus when viewed from Earth, though not as bright as the full moon. It will be visible in the night sky for weeks, and could be visible in the day sky for a short time. But that event could happen today or 100,000 years from now, or as much as a million years from now. Since Betelgeuse is over 600 light-years away, its violent death will not harm Earth in any way, but will definitely provide a huge bonanza of scientific information about supernovae. As geeks, we can only hope the core of Betelgeuse undergoes catastrophic failure in our lifetime."

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Soon? (4, Informative)

RabbitWho (1805112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967032)

What they're saying is it might have blown up around 600 years ago... or not

Re:Soon? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967076)

To you and the other 17 people who have already stated this and who will state this, we know. But we don't mention it, because it's irrelevant. Some of those who state it are just pointing out an interesting fact, which is fine, but to those who are stating it like it changes the story itself, or the importance of the story, or the facts of the story--shut up.

Re:Soon? (1)

RabbitWho (1805112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967118)

If i had known so many people were going to say it I wouldn't have said anything. I feel like a bit of a drone now. But it's the first thing that came into my head when I saw the headline.. "Isn't betelgeuce the past?" I said to myself. Oh well.

Re:Soon? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967198)

Dork. You were supposed to write, HOW DARE YOU FOR QUESTIONING MY INTELLIGENCE, in true /. fashion.

Re:Soon? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967224)

If i had known so many people were going to say it I wouldn't have said anything.

Hey, somebody was sure to state it, and getting it in up front wards off all the redundant posters (hopefully).

Perhaps not on Slashdot, but definitely in the general population the majority of people are so far away from understanding this fact that they may have already posted the same thing and we simply won't see if for a X number of posts or several life times.

Re:Soon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967288)

- Rabbitwho posted the same thing that 17 others did?

- I don't know who, that's what we're trying to find out. And don't call me Rabbit!

Re:Soon? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967522)

Well... if nothing can exceed c, then does the state of things beyond that really matter to us?

Re:Soon? (3, Interesting)

justin12345 (846440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967658)

I have a serious question about the speed of light, and our ability to determine the relative distance and speeds of stellar objects. I specialized in the arts not the sciences, so maybe one of you physics buffs can help me. Please humor me if these are the dumbest questions in the world.

How do we actually know that the wave/particle/whatever I see when I glance up at Betelguese is about 600 years old. It seems to me that we would need to know a few things first, before we could calculate that:

How fast is the Earth moving through space? Not toward or away from Betelguese as in red and blue shifts of that particular star but just how fast are we moving through space in general. Can we look at one part of the sky and see everything red shifted and another part of the sky and see blue shifted and extrapolate the total speed from that (obviously we would need a series of measurements)? Do we know how fast the galaxy is moving, or even the speed that the sun moves around the center of the galaxy? For instance if I'm driving a car east at 60 mph, can we take all those factors, add them together and determine the total speed of me and my car.

Does that combined speed cause a time dialation effect (even a tiny one) on Earth? I know time and mass becomes distorted as you approach the speed of light, but I've never heard how steep that gradient is or if there is a lower limit. Would a hypothetical stationary cup of water cooled to absolute zero experience time differently then a similar cup boiling at 100 degrees (obviously the difference would be very tiny, but would it be there or is there a cut off)?

If the universe is expanding in the sense that there is more space between all particles (this was how it was explained to me: that with each passing moment the distance between all particles increases as the fabric of space-time slowly expands) wouldn't the speed of light be slowly increasing (or decreasing) as well. Would a lightyear 600 years ago be the same as it is now?

I know that the margins of error in determining astrological distance are way larger then any of these factors, and wouldn't effect the "about 600 lightyears away" distance of Betelgeuse. I'm asking more hypothetically. "Are these even factors?" is what I'm asking. What do we know and what don't we?

It's kinda hard to find the answers short of getting an astrophysics degree, so I'm hoping someone here with one could help me out.

Re:Soon? (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967790)

I'm pretty sure you're wrong about the last part. All those questions have been discussed and argued extensively for decades by people who spend disproportionate amounts of times thinking about them... to the point where the "answers" can be found on wikipedia. I'm not a physicist, so I won't answer you unless noone else does, I really like your set of questions though.

Re:Soon? (1)

justin12345 (846440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967952)

The difficulty with the last part is the contradictory nature of the info when you ask these questions to a search engine. Though your Google-Fu might just be much better then mine, too.

Re:Soon? (1, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967794)

The questions you raise are valid. We don't know how long it takes a photon to get here from Betelgeuse down to the nearest second. For stars which are fairly close astronomers can use parallax to get a precise distance. They do that by measuring the position of the star in the sky six months apart with the orbit of the Earth around the run providing a baseline. I don't know if they can do that for Betelgeuse. It might be a bit too far away. Beyond that they rely on measuring the brightness and spectrum of a star to estimate distance.

So its not going to be 600.00000000000000 light years away but by one POV that really isn't important. Relativity says that the photon coming from Betelgeuse experiences no time when it travels those 600 light years. So the travel time is zero. If we see the star explode in 2020 then it would have exploded in 2020.

Re:Soon? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967888)

Relativity says that the photon coming from Betelgeuse experiences no time when it travels those 600 light years. So the travel time is zero. If we see the star explode in 2020 then it would have exploded in 2020.

IANAP but light does have a travel time: the speed of light is finite. However, the photon does not experience travel time because it's travelling at the speed of light.

Re:Soon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967920)

If we see the star explode in 2020 then it would have exploded in 2020.

If we see the star explode in 2020 then it would have exploded in 1420. From our POV the star is 600 light years away. From our POV the light takes 600 years to get to us. From our POV the light has been traveling 600 years before it got to us so it exploded 600 years ago if we are now seeing it. From our point of view.

Re:Soon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967954)

That only implies that the travel time is 0 from the reference frame of the photon. From earth, it still takes ~600 years to travel here.

Re:Soon? (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967874)

JFGI ;-) Try "solar system" and "motion" as the search terms.

You can find some of the numbers for the Solar System's orbit at wikipedia [wikipedia.org] . Scan the page for "Solar System". Thus, in the "Sun's location and neighborhood" section, it mentions that our orbital speed around the center of the galaxy is about 220 km/s, roughly in the direction of Vega. At that speed, relativistic effects are measurable, if you have good astronomical instruments, but you probably can't detect the effects with your own senses.

In other news... (-1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967158)

...Scientific data supports Global Warming. Or not. Perhaps. Maybe. We'll see!

Re:Soon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967360)

If is did explode, we should already know. Ask any historian.

Re:Soon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967496)

The idea of "600 years ago" becomes valid only if you come up with faster-than-light travel.

This seems to be a difficult concept for some people, but it's also fundamental to the General Relativity Model of Space Time.

Re:Soon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967624)

Phil Plait is a creepy asshole who vacuums up other people's words and vomits them out onto his own blog. Oh, and he sucks at math.

Re:Soon? (1)

ghjm (8918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967746)

Not in our reference frame.

Re:Soon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967900)

This thread is already better than the MicroHP one. /popcorn

Already happened? (0, Redundant)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967036)

Since Betelgeuse is about 640 light years away, it could have happened hundreds of years ago. We just don't know it yet.

Re:Already happened? (4, Insightful)

DJLuc1d (1010987) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967280)

There is a mistake in thinking like this. You assume an absolute version of time. Relativity shows us that this is not the case. There is no universal time clock, and since nothing can be transmitted faster than light, not even information (barring crazy stuff like quantum entanglement) - it only matters when we observe it. Like the uncertainty principle, all common thinking tells is is that the atom must have a definite position and velocity - but it doesn't because we can't measure it. Same applies here, we can't measure things until the information reaches us, so that is when it happens.

Re:Already happened? (-1, Offtopic)

ThatMegathronDude (1189203) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967368)

Mod parent up.

Re:Already happened? (0)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967394)

+1 insightful

Re:Already happened? (1)

idji (984038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967536)

i now realize +1 insightful = +1 geekiness!

Re:Already happened? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967590)

Same applies here, we can't measure things until the information reaches us, so that is when it happens.

If a tree falls in the forest but you can't hear it fall, did it still fall?

The answer is simple; Yes it did, because if you go there and look it is fallen.

Same applies to quantum mechanics and same applies to relativity.
When in time it happened is important, not because of when we observe it but because it has other implications to it's environment.

Re:Already happened? (1)

Gunnut1124 (961311) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967656)

There is no "in time" That dimension doesn't work the way you think it does. Learn a little more about relativity and you'll understand what we're on about. Til then, please refrain from arguing with those who demonstrably know more than you.

Re:Already happened? (4, Informative)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967614)

Calm down, he's obviously talking about his own inertial reference frame. And within his frame, he's correct.

Re:Already happened? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967678)

Actually, my understanding is that even with quantum entanglement, quantum teleportation, and other quantum effects, there is no known way of transferring information faster than the speed of light.

Re:Already happened? (2)

pigwiggle (882643) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967724)

"Like the uncertainty principle, all common thinking tells is is that the atom must have a definite position and velocity - but it doesn't because we can't measure it"

Wrong. You can't measure it because it doesn't. The UP isn't about your ability to measure something. Consider time/energy uncertainty. The faster an excited state decays, the broader the distribution in energies of emitted photons.

Re:Already happened? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967760)

Wrong, I think it is a mistake to think like you are. If there is in fact any possibility that something (particles we don't know about, etc) could travel faster than the speed of light then those might be more important than the visible observable results, especially if those particles could affect us in any way. There are many ways this could be possible, from wormholes to string theory to quantum mechanics.

We know for a fact that Einstein's relatively is not the only game in town, you mention quantum mechanics yourself. We do not have all the answers despite having "proofs" like relativity.

Re:Already happened? (5, Insightful)

Shimmer (3036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967774)

We can't measure things until the information reaches us, so that is when it happens.

I think you are misunderstanding relativity, or perhaps just miscommunicating it.

Example: Some cosmic microwave background radiation [wikipedia.org] from the early universe is just reaching Earth today. That doesn't mean that the universe is young "now".

My understanding of relativity is that you can still use distance = speed * time to figure out when an event occurred in your reference frame. You just have to give up the notion that everyone else will agree with you.

Re:Already happened? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967922)

MOD PARENT UP.

Re:Already happened? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967782)

So if I close my eyes and never observe it, it will never have happened.

Re:Already happened? (3, Informative)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967814)

You can run a perfectly valid Newtonian clock-syncing algorithm when all parties are moving relative to each other at much less than the speed of light. That's the case here.

For any speed less than c, you preserve the order of events, and as soon as you say what the distance is, you're committed to talking about a fixed elapsed time because the speed of light is invariant.

The statements "Betelgeuse is 600 light years away" and "We're seeing it as it was 600 years ago" are equally valid. They're both approximately true for anyone who's moving slowly relative to us and Betelgeuse.

Someone in a relativistic starship who's racing the light from the supernova will report a shorter time, because she's just behind the light, and will truthfully report a shorter distance, equal to the (invariant) speed of light times the (her frame) measured time.

Or.... (0, Redundant)

crumbz (41803) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967038)

Betelgeuse could have blown up in 1411 CE. News sure travels slow in our part of the galaxy......

Re: yeah... (1)

Isaac Remuant (1891806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967146)

like.... light slow... :P

Re:Or.... (1)

Dausha (546002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967180)

Just showing that /. Continues to post old news...

I can see it now (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967040)

Starring Bruce Willis, and a cast of ironic castoffs

Re:I can see it now (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967112)

During a type II supernova most of the iron stays in the core and isn't cast off.

Re:I can see it now (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967860)

this was hilarious

Re:I can see it now (1)

unrtst (777550) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967176)

Can't have a film about Betelgeuse without including David Dixon or Mos Def!

Re:I can see it now (1)

mikael (484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967606)

"...Betelgeuse Betelgeuse Betelgeuse...."

Is he here yet?

no damage to earth for at least 640 years (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967046)

From TFA: With all this drama happening 640 light-years away in the constellation of Orion

640 years ought to be enough for anybody.

Re:no damage to earth for at least 640 years (2)

silverspell (1556765) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967668)

From TFA: With all this drama happening 640 light-years away in the constellation of Orion

"With so much drama in the one-OB
It's kinda hard bein' Betel-g-e-u-s-e
But I, somehow, some way
Keep freakin' out the eschatologists like every single day..."

I hope it doesn't go supernova in our lifetime (-1, Redundant)

stevemoink (134725) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967052)

Then we won't get to see it for over 600 years.

strange future tense (0, Redundant)

volkerdi (9854) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967054)

"As geeks, we can only hope the core of Betelgeuse undergoes catastrophic failure in our lifetime."

As geeks, and with the star over 600 light-years away, we can only hope this has already happened close to 600 years ago.

Re:strange future tense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967080)

I only wish there was a -1 pedantic score

Re:strange future tense (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967098)

What makes this post so interesting is that you were the first person to say it.

Re:strange future tense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967212)

What makes this post so interesting is that you were the first person to say it.

As geeks, we know its all relative.

Re:strange future tense (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967226)

What makes this post so interesting is that you were the first person to say it.

As geeks, we know its all relative.

Does this include the question whether to put an apostrophe in "it's"? :-)

Re:strange future tense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967132)

More interesting is how the submitter started with "As geeks, we", as if he thought he could sneak into the club. Sorry rubycodez, you're not a geek if you don't understand lightspeed!

Re:strange future tense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967182)

So what practical benefit does it have to be pedantic about this? To us, it's happening as we observe it. It's not like we can get significantly closer to the star.

So long as you feel superior, I guess, even though that superiority comes at the cost of pointlessly being a dick.

Re:strange future tense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967194)

As geeks, we can only hope the core of Betelgeuse undergoes catastrophic failure in our lifetime

Maybe he's a futurist who fully expects the singularity to happen within the next 20 years. He could anticipate that said event would extend the lifespan of the human being to beyond 100,000 years!

Re:strange future tense (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967504)

I understand very well; if we observe such a thing this year it will be "the Supernova of 2011", not "The supernova of circa 1360". For us on Earth, the explosion hasn't happened until the information reaches us.

Re:strange future tense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967784)

It would be called "the Supernova of 2011" because we name them after the observation year, not the event year.

If you understood very well, you would have written "we can only hope to observe the explosion in our lifetime" instead of "we can only hope the core of Betelgeuse undergoes catastrophic failure in our lifetime".

Re:strange future tense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967936)

Exactly. The people who say that the explosion may have already happened just do not understand the physics.

Re:strange future tense (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967272)

>>"As geeks, we can only hope the core of Betelgeuse undergoes catastrophic failure in our lifetime."

>As geeks, and with the star over 600 light-years away, we can only hope this has already happened close to 600 >years ago.

As geeks we all understand that in our frame of reference Betelgeuse has not exploded yet, and it is our frame of reference that counts in this situation.

Re:strange future tense (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967366)

No, it's exactly our frame of reference where Betelgeuse is 640 light years away, and it is our frame or reference where it might already have happened up to 640 years ago.

Re:strange future tense (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967884)

No. This is a very common misconception, but it is not correct. Betelgeuse is about 640 light years away. (The exact distance is somewhat uncertain.) It takes a signal about 640 years (or more) to get here from there. So, in our frame of reference no signal indicating that Betelgeuse has gone supernova (as of last night, when I took a look at Orion). In our frame of reference Betelgeuse has not exploded yet (as of last night).

Re:strange future tense (0)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967516)

As geeks we all understand that in our frame of reference Betelgeuse has not exploded yet, and it is our frame of reference that counts in this situation.

If the GP was pedantic, your post is just fail. You can't say a lightning strike hasn't happened yet because you haven't heard the thunder. Frame of reference only means what you're measuring relative to, a car goes 50 mph relative to earth because that is our frame of reference. If you traveled near lightspeed your frame of reference would move faster through time than mine. But using our reference, the star would have to have exploded 600 years ago just like lightning struck 5 seconds ago.

Re:strange future tense (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967702)

Using that logic, I haven't slept with your wife yet just because you don't know about it. But trust me, it has happened already.

Betelgeuse Betelgeuse Betelgeuse (5, Funny)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967064)

Just say its name three times and it'll all be under control.

Harmless? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967070)

Who's mostly harmless now Ford Prefect?

Re:Harmless? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967204)

Note that this article says that Betelgeuse may or may not blow up soon. Probably it was written by Vroomfondel.

REAL geeks... (-1, Redundant)

XiaoMing (1574363) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967088)

As geeks, we can only hope the core of Betelgeuse undergoes catastrophic failure in our lifetime.

Or rather, that we find out it underwent a catastrophic failure 600 years ago.

Re:REAL geeks... (1)

laejoh (648921) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967116)

The Great Collapsing Hrung Disaster of Gal./Sid./Year 03758? Fiction willan on-take reality!

Re:REAL geeks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967170)

Can you elaborate on that? Are you just an Ix?

But... but... (1)

folderol (1965326) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967104)

Isn't beetle juice what they use for the pink food dye in battenberg cakes?

Re:But... but... (1)

brusk (135896) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967426)

Cochineal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cochineal) is derived from a member of the order Hemiptera ("true bugs"), not a beetle.

Let's fast forward (1)

whitehaint (1883260) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967160)

Beetlejuice beetlejuice beetlejuice! There, now it's closer so we will know exactly when it happens.

Re:Let's fast forward (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967570)

You know it's happening once your head starts spinning.
But then, you never know with that guy.

We do? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967164)

As geeks, we can only hope the core of Betelgeuse undergoes catastrophic failure in our lifetime.

I dunno. Betelgeuse staying the way it is suits me pretty good. 1). Orion is the most recognizable constellation there is. It's supposed to be a man with outstretched arms, and well, it looks like one -- with his belt, and the 4 brightest stars. Yeah, they're his shoulders and knees, but so what 2). Betelgeuse is a bight star, and it's noticeably red. So it's a good example of star colors. Right next to Aldebaran, Antares, and Sirius, nearby and also red and blue (blue-white) 3). If it blows tomorrow, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy will soon be confusing. Well, more so. And that's a great geek book. Basically, the only people left out seriously will be kids. But seriously, Betelgeuse, is an important tool for teaching children. Not like there's much we can do about it.

Insurance (5, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967168)

The question is, can I make money selling Betelgeuse supernova insurance to the general public?

Re:Insurance (1)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967186)

The question is, can I make money selling Betelgeuse supernova insurance to the general public?

There is no doubt in my mind you could pull it off.

Re:Insurance (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967236)

Betelgeuse supernova insurance

I too have an uncle.

Re:Insurance (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967324)

Fast Tony? Is that you?

We all know you will sell your mother for a grape...

Re:Insurance (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967718)

Any question based around the notion of selling a worthless item to the general public almost invariably can be answered "Yes".

Relativity anyone? Time sequence is not universal! (1)

rwwh (989154) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967214)

Can some physicist explain the relation of this story with Einstein's relativity theory? AFAICS, Einstein tells us that time difference, and even the order in which events take place is not a universal property, but are all tied to an observer. How can we speak about beetlejuice blowing up in 1411 in that light? Would there not be a possible viewpoint in the universe where the nova event would take place much closer to our time? Or even, "after" we see it?

Re:Relativity anyone? Time sequence is not univers (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967278)

Can some physicist explain the relation of this story with Einstein's relativity theory? AFAICS, Einstein tells us that time difference, and even the order in which events take place is not a universal property, but are all tied to an observer. How can we speak about beetlejuice blowing up in 1411 in that light? Would there not be a possible viewpoint in the universe where the nova event would take place much closer to our time?

Yes. From the viewpoint of an observer passing earth in the direction away from Betelgeuse sufficiently close to light speed, it would be an arbitrary short time between Betelgeuse blowing up and us seeing it (from his view it would also be an arbitrary close distance between earth and Betelgeuse. Also note that in his frame of reference, earth would be flat. :-)

Or even, "after" we see it?

No, the time order of causally related events is the same in all frames of reference. The cause always comes before the effect.

Re:Relativity anyone? Time sequence is not univers (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967460)

earth would be flat

actually, there is not an observed contraction but rather a rotation in the direction of the observer. Problem is Lorentz-Fitzgerald (and many textbooks modeling observation of near-lightspeed objects) only consider one dimension in the direction of travel, but the three spacial dimensional treatment gives the rotation.

Re:Relativity anyone? Time sequence is not univers (1)

Bruha (412869) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967334)

The whole observer thing is bs and because of limited imagination.

Just because someone saw it sooner does not make when it actually happened any different from someone a thousand light years away. Once both parties have seen it the further party would know it happened X years ago with X uncertainty because measuring distances is complicated. However on a universal timeline it happened when it happened and that's it.

Re:Relativity anyone? Time sequence is not univers (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967356)

Relativity of simultaneity is not about the time when you see it. It's about the time you get after correcting for the finite time the light needed to get to you.

Re:Relativity anyone? Time sequence is not univers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967478)

"1411" means "1411 in Earth's reference frame". Actually, unless otherwise specified (like in a physics problem), all times and dates reported by our civilization are measured in Earth's reference frame. Normally people figure this out on their own, but I guess you needed to be explicitly told.

What about Ford Perfect? (1, Funny)

c.r.o.c.o (123083) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967240)

Will we be able to find his home planet now that Betelgeuse will turn supernova?

Re:What about Ford Perfect? (4, Informative)

GreatDrok (684119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967444)

I don't know about Ford Perfect, but Ford Prefect may well have an issue with this.

Re:What about Ford Perfect? (2)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967906)

Its home is now Corel. I don't think the supernova will have any effect on it.
Oh and MS Word sucks in comparison.

Party? (5, Funny)

gregor-e (136142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967244)

Driving home one evening, someone said we should hold a party for the death of Betelgeuse, and invite Michael Keaton. My girlfriend responded "Why? Because he's a dying star too?"

Betelgeuse To Blow Up Soon — Or Not (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967274)

Come 22 December 2012 there will come another Great Disappointment [wikipedia.org] .

Falcon

Re:Betelgeuse To Blow Up Soon — Or Not (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967384)

I think we're still in the Great Disappointment of Y2K. When the Y2K bug and other stuff didn't end the world, that left a lot of people pining for the next big end of the world. 2012 was the same sort of deal too, a calendar roll-date.

Re:Betelgeuse To Blow Up Soon — Or Not (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967432)

Bah, everyone knows it's Jan 19, 2038 when the world will end. :-)

I can see it any time I like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967440)

I can see its destruction anytime I like. Just find one, stomp, pick up your stomping foot, and there you have your beetle juice, beetle guts, and beetle smoosh partly all over your shoe. Since they eat ants, and ants are a bigger pest than beetles, I usually leave them alone, but I digress.

Why the hurry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967480)

I'm willing to wait this one out.

frist s7op (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967518)

and building is that has lost They learn from our th3 BSD license,

Wishing for death? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967568)

You are a horrible person wishing for the deaths of people 600 years ago!

Addendum (1)

saltire sable (1197695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967586)

Gotta love the "correction" at the end of TFA[1]:

NEWS.com.au would like to apologise for their error - as we all know, Betelgeuse is the second biggest star in the Orion constellation, not the universe.

Second brightest, perhaps, but you could probably fit Rigel inside of Betelgeuse well over three thousand times.

Now to fix the rest of the wildly overblown claims in the story...

Re:Addendum (1)

mikael (484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967698)

This star comparison video gives a good idea of the relative size of Betelgeuse to our Sun. Wish I could watch the supernova video from close-up - though there are simulation videos.

Star comparison video [youtube.com]

how long does it take after it blows for us to see (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967674)

how long does it take after it blows for us to see it?

Obviously... (0)

trantron (1915098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967742)

It's being demolished to make way for a hyperspatial express route.
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