Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Nearest Supernova Candidate To Earth: IK Pegasi

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the universe-is-a-crazy-place dept.

Space 55

The Bad Astronomer writes "What's the nearest star to Earth that can explode as a supernova? Spica, at 260 light years away, is the nearest massive star that can explode, but IK Pegasi — a Sirius-like binary composed of a normal star and a white dwarf — will also one day blow. At a distance of 150 light years, it's truly the closest supernova candidate. Happily, that's too far away to damage the Earth when it goes off — and it won't explode for millions of years at least, by which time it'll be even farther away. Either way, we're safe... for now."

cancel ×

55 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Okay... we're safe. Next question... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40044739)

Will it be, at least, pretty to look at?

Re:Okay... we're safe. Next question... (2)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 2 years ago | (#40044783)

Sure, but remember to be careful with your remaining eye.

We will all be safe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40044821)

Until some idiot drops a wormhole, connected to a blackhole, into some star... Then we are all screwed..

Re:We will all be safe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40050219)

Nobody got the reference to this one??... Is this a page for nerds or not? :P

good news is no news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40044823)

What kind of news is this ? Not even pending doom in 100 million years ? Do you guys know anything about news ?

Something that won't kill us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40044835)

I am shocked that they aren't hyping this up. Think about all the doomsday preppers they could have created if the radiation from a supernova would bake the planet.

Oh well, there are still a hundred other ways human life on this planet might get wiped out.

Are We Zoned For This? (4, Funny)

avgjoe62 (558860) | more than 2 years ago | (#40044837)

I'll have to go down to the local planning office in Alpha Centauri and see if they've got a permit for a supernova that close to the planned hyperspace bypass...

Re:Are We Zoned For This? (1)

rwise2112 (648849) | more than 2 years ago | (#40045337)

Beware of the leopard!

Re:Are We Zoned For This? (1)

neoshroom (324937) | more than 2 years ago | (#40049653)

Don't be silly. The leopard is kept in the local Guilford planning office. The basement of the Alpha Centauri planning office is completely free from such annoyances. You can tell from the sign above the door: "This premises guaranteed to be leopard free. Please keep your eyes focused on this sign until you reach the teller and whatever you do do not look directly at the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal."

Holy Shit Batman! (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40044877)

Wow! Thank Gawd for that! I mean, I can finally sleep at night again knowing we won't be roasted by a supernova. Truly that loomed the largest of all for me, right after the thought that my house sat on top of a supervolcano. How could I survive that? I'm not Pierce Brosnan after all.

Re:Holy Shit Batman! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40045035)

Sure about that? Betelgeuse could go supernova [earthsky.org] any minute. It's farther out though at 640 ly.

Re:Holy Shit Batman! (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40045107)

I hope so, that would be amazing to see. I am very much hoping to see a visible supernova in my lifetime (unfortunately, they tend to be pretty rare, so it is unlikely, but you never know.) It wouldn't do any damage: pretty much nothing is close enough to do so.

Re:Holy Shit Batman! (2)

Titan1080 (1328519) | more than 2 years ago | (#40046093)

Agreed. I will die very unhappy if at least 1 of 2 things don't happen in my lifetime. #1 contact with extraterrestrials. #2 witnessing a massive supernova.

Re:Holy Shit Batman! (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#40047595)

The letter to management will be very severe!

Re:Holy Shit Batman! (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40045297)

Fuck pal, thanks a lot. Back to my endless insomnia.

Re:Holy Shit Batman! (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#40046055)

Betelgeuse could have gone supernova any minute now. It's farther out though at 640 ly.

FTFY. Speed of light and all.

Re:Holy Shit Batman! (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 2 years ago | (#40046763)

He was right the first time, when we observe it is when it happened as far as we're concerned. Relativity and all.

Re:Holy Shit Batman! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40050873)

This isn't how time is defined in physics. Read about "inertial frame of reference". Relativity is not relevant here because special relativity discusses how to handle large relative speeds, and general relativity discusses how to handle large gravity. There is no such effects here, only large distance, so classical mechanics works just fine.

Re:Holy Shit Batman! (2)

Random Data (538955) | more than 2 years ago | (#40050013)

640 ly ought to be enough for anyone

Re:Holy Shit Batman! (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40047869)

Actually the first one is not likely... however regarding the second... just today I read that the city of Naples is giving the green light to drill the first of what will ultimately be a 4,000 meter hydrothermal energy vent into the Campi Flegrei [nature.com] super volcano caldera just outside Naples. Scientists are worried about earthquakes and the remote possibility of precipitating an eruption. I find this far more sleep depriving than any thought of astronomical events. Oh and if you follow the story links, the only vaguely possible stellar catastrophe is a possible Gamma Ray Burster towards the center of the galaxy... a low odds threat at best.

Eta Carinae and the definition of near (2)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 2 years ago | (#40044983)

I thought Eta Carinae [wikipedia.org] was the one we were supposed to worry about. It blew off an outer layer in the 1800's. It's supermassive and it is due to go any moment now. In fact it may have already blown and we're just waiting for the news.

And near can mean a few different things in space. Which would you prefer, being a foot away from a firecracker or a mile away from a nuclear bomb?

Re:Eta Carinae and the definition of near (2)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#40045081)

At 7500+ LY, we'll have a good view, but we don't need to worry about it going SN. Now, if it collapses into a black hole that happens to point a gamma ray jet directly at us, we might have something to worry about.

Re:Eta Carinae and the definition of near (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40045269)

At 7500+ LY the gamma rays won't be a problem.

Re:Eta Carinae and the definition of near (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40045947)

You mean if it collapsed into a black hole and happened to point a gamma ray jet directly at us about 7,500 years ago?

Re:Eta Carinae and the definition of near (4, Insightful)

BobNET (119675) | more than 2 years ago | (#40046355)

When you're standing 2 metres away from someone, and they say "hey, what are you doing now?", do you reply "did you mean 0.0000000066712819 seconds ago?"

Re:Eta Carinae and the definition of near (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40047887)

Its moot, if you look at the lobes on the Homunculus Nebula in the Hubble image, you'll clearly see the axis of Eta Carinae is pointed nowhere near us.

Re:Eta Carinae and the definition of near (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40045169)

Which would you prefer, being a foot away from a firecracker or a mile away from a nuclear bomb?

What kind of firecracker? I'm going with the nuke since my doctor says I should say away from salt... I should be safe in my bunker a mile underground, where the crackers are unsalted.

Closest Candidate but not Candidate for Closest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40045073)

As mentioned in the article, it may currently be the closest star that is a candidate for going supernova eventually, but it's not the candidate for the closest supernova, since it's going to be a lot further away from us by the time it's able to explode, and other candidates will either have moved closer, or will have moved away less.

Slow News Day (1)

MonkeyClicker (1415475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40045179)

This is news?

Re: Slow News Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40045281)

In other news, the sun is hot. Back to you, Tom.

Re: Slow News Day (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40047897)

Add that to rocks are hard and water's wet!!!

Who cares? Wrong question.... (1, Insightful)

Danathar (267989) | more than 2 years ago | (#40045283)

So what? the nearest star that can explode as a supernova? What good will knowing that mean if it's millions of years away?

The RIGHT question is:

  What's the closest star we can SEE with the naked EYE go supernova that has a reasonable chance of any of us slashdotters viewing in our lifetimes. That IS important as it matters to the average person who might just look up.

Re:Who cares? Wrong question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40045775)

No, actually, the question is WHEN DID a naked-eye-viewable star PREVIOUSLY GO SUPERNOVA, so that we can witness this ourselves? Any supernove that we're going to see happened a LONG time ago.

Re:Who cares? Wrong question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40048917)

You mean: "when did a naked-eye-viewable FORMER star" because right now it would be a supernova remnant, not a star.

Re:Who cares? Wrong question.... (1)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 2 years ago | (#40046109)

Betelgeuse [wikipedia.org]

The closest canidate may be the one overhead (1)

JTW (11913) | more than 2 years ago | (#40045339)

Children tend to play with toys in their crib first.. then with the ones in the neighbors backyard.

Just say'in..

But we're a habitually meddlesome species.. we can't see to leave well enough alone.

While we're workin on the stellar engineering degree there's bound to be a few.. "whoopsies"

Re:The closest canidate may be the one overhead (1)

JTW (11913) | more than 2 years ago | (#40045375)

Oh yeah.. just ask the Ganymedens about their project Icarus.. that ended well [ http://www.amazon.com/The-Gentle-Giants-Ganymede-2/dp/0345323270 ]

A spaceship, a blackhole and alien refugees fleeing a dying sun.

Just another day a the the beach 25 millions years long.

Re:The closest canidate may be the one overhead (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40046251)

The Time Lords blew a few stars up too, as it was the only way to generate the extreme high-energy conditions needed for their early experiments in temporal manipulation. The team responsible for the research was sensible enough to conduct their experiments far from anywhere inhabited, though perhaps they should have destroyed their doomsday machine when they were finished with it rather than just leave it lying around for the Daleks to steal.

Re:The closest canidate may be the one overhead (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#40048661)

They also lost one of their researchers, a Lord Omega in a black hole/alternate anti-matter universe. He's tried to destroy the universe at least twice. It's not as safe as it sounds, but at least they got some cool toys out of it.

Hmmm.... (1)

hendersj (720767) | more than 2 years ago | (#40045457)

I'd have to say that if this criteria is for a "supernova candidate", the nearest supernova candidate to us would be THE SUN. Because it's bound to go supernova one day, just like every other star in the universe.

The next nearest supernova candidate would be proxima centauri. But it probably won't cause any damage to the Earth either, and probably isn't likely to go off for a few million years either.

Damn, I should've been an astronomer - if this is all it takes to "make news".

Re:Hmmm.... (1)

hendersj (720767) | more than 2 years ago | (#40045531)

And yes, I do know that not all stars go supernova. Folks, RTFA rather than relying on the summary. The summary should have been better written, and that's what I was aiming for - a little silliness, and a jab about the summary on /. being very unclear on a few points. :)

Re:Hmmm.... (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#40045787)

Hendersj, realising he said something really dumb, tries to pull his fat out of the fire but burns his fingers, sets the sleeve of his Neanderthal rabbit-fur-coat alight, starts screaming, and then rolls around on the ground trying to put out the signs that he indeed did do something dumb.

And then says "I meant to do that."

--
BMO

Re:Hmmm.... (1)

hendersj (720767) | more than 2 years ago | (#40045849)

You don't do satire, do you?

BMO, realizing that he wrote a reply to something without reading the follow-up post, tries to cover up his stupidity by saying something else that's stupid.

Well, done.

Re:Hmmm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40045665)

We can worry about a star which could harm us if it goes supernova. No point in worrying about the Sun.

Re:Hmmm.... (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#40045667)

I'd have to say that if this criteria is for a "supernova candidate", the nearest supernova candidate to us would be THE SUN. Because it's bound to go supernova one day,

And you would be completely wrong in all respects.

The size of the Sun makes it impossible to become a supernova. It will grow to a red giant, throw off gas, and shrink to a white dwarf. There will be no supernova.

The next nearest supernova candidate would be proxima centauri.

No, you would be wrong *again* since none of the Centauri stars are large enough to become supernovae and none show any sign in the distant future of either colliding or accreting matter from one other to make a type 1a supernova.

Damn, I should've been an astronomer - if this is all it takes to "make news".

The dumbth. You have it.

--
BMO

Re:Hmmm.... (1)

hendersj (720767) | more than 2 years ago | (#40045821)

Did you bother to read my reply to myself? I indicated I understood it, that this was intended satirically.

You fail at reading. Hard.

Re:Hmmm.... (0)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#40046065)

Your first post in this thread was reminiscent of Sarah Palin ranting about fruit fly studies. In fact, the post you made is typical of the ignorati that infest American politics and rather dumb individuals everywhere.

Your trying to cover up for it by saying it's a joke doesn't take away from the fact it wasn't funny in the first place, or from the fact that it reeked of deliberate ignorance as seen every goddamned day on Fox and other Rupert Murdoch properties.

--
BMO

Re:Hmmm.... (1)

hendersj (720767) | more than 2 years ago | (#40046283)

That you didn't find it funny is fine. I don't post a lot on /., so I don't expect everyone to understand when I'm being funny. But no, I'm not trying to "cover up" that it was stupid. It was intended to be stupid, but I neglected to put sufficient context in there. I didn't take my audience into consideration (I usually write things like this to people who know me well enough to know when I'm being satirical or silly about something).

I actually do have a bit of a background in astronomy, and I read Phil's blog regularly. Unlike others who comment on stories here, I actually /did/ read the story before I posted. But I could see the potential for stupidity in replies, so I was more or less doing a bad "Gumby" impression for the benefit of those who didn't RTFA and were replying (or thinking) in a similar manner.

I see your point about it "smelling" like Faux News tripe. My bad for not making it extrordinarily clear that it was intended to be satire (indeed, I well could have prefaced it with a comment saying "Here's how Fox News would respond to this:".

I'll grant that some additional context to make it clear would've pulled it off better.

Live and learn.

Re:Hmmm.... (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#40046469)

The thing about satire is that if you are too close to what you are satirizing, you may run afoul of Poe's Law.

What you did was true to the Nathan Poe's original version of his law.

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Poe's_Law [rationalwiki.org]

--
BMO

Re:Hmmm.... (1)

hendersj (720767) | more than 2 years ago | (#40046635)

Yup. That thought occurred to me after you "called me out". Not a lot of people are familiar with Poe's Law (though more are now).

So something good comes out of my error. :)

derp derp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40046377)

fuck off bmo you ignorant goatfucker

The scary one to me is Wolf-Rayet 104 (1)

shoor (33382) | more than 2 years ago | (#40045541)

Ok, I googled wr 104 and the latest opinion is that we're not looking down the barrel of a gun. Just wait until some new observation says we are, or we find out the hard way that we are.

Still in danger (2)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40046211)

The issue isn't the physical damage from the expanding nebula but the intense energy (mostly gamma-ray) burst that happens when the star collapses. Basically anything within a few hundred light years gets hammered by a shotgun of energy if it's aligned with the poles of the star.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma-ray_burst [wikipedia.org]

http://f64.nsstc.nasa.gov/gbm/ [nasa.gov]
More reading on our monitoring attempts, though anything that would hit us would be noticed pretty much about the time it hit us.

Old news. It already a supernova since last month. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40046413)

You will have proof in 150 years.

Seriously? (1)

ks*nut (985334) | more than 2 years ago | (#40047307)

We don't have to worry about no stinkin' supernovae. Even at the speed of light those nasty gamma rays won't catch us, because by the time they get here we will be so, what's that word, oh yeah, extinct.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>