Jun 102009

betelgeuseBetelgeuse is a red supergiant star, about 600 light-years from Earth.  It’s one of the largest and brightest stars in the night sky, and you’ve probably looked at it many times.  It’s Orion the Hunter’s right shoulder.

It seems Betelgeuse has averaged a loss of about 1% of its diameter per year for the past 15 years.  That’s extraordinary.

As Betelgeuse is roughly 3,527,178,000,000,000 miles away no one can say for sure what’s happening, but it may be about to go supernova.  (Well, it really will have happened about 600 years ago, but you know.)  If it does, it will briefly be brighter than the moon, and will remain highly visible for weeks (perhaps months).

Nathan is fascinated with astronomy right now, and can already tell you (quite matter-of-factly) that in just a few billion years, the sun is going to do the earth in.  I would love for this to happen to Betelgeuse in his lifetime.

So which will be first:  Betelgeuse or Yellowstone?  Let’s get some action going.

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 Posted by at 6:21 pm

  One Response to “Will Betelgeuse blow?”

  1. I will give anybody 10:1 odds that Betegeuse goes first. Let’s say$ 1 million dollars at 10:1. Any takers?

    I hope so. At 640 light years away odds are it has already popped. Assuming Yellowstone goes tonight, and anybody is left in 640 years to prove me wrong, I will gladly pay.

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