Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Third Rock from the Suns

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In the near future, in this galaxy not so far, far away … 640 light-years from Earth, in the Orion constellation, a star named Betelgeuse is on the verge of exploding and when it does it will produce a supernova that will give the appearance of there being two suns in the sky. The astronomical phenomenon is expected to produce 24 hour day light for as long as a couple of weeks, sometime in 2011 , 2012, or in the next million years.

Such are the predictions of Dr. Brad Carter, Senior Lecturer of Physics at the University of Southern Queensland, in Australia. Dr. Carter elaborated his predictions in an interview with news.com.au.

Betelgeuse “is running out of fuel in its centre,” adding on that it’s “fuel keeps Betelgeuse shining and supported. When this fuel runs out the star will literally collapse in upon itself and it will do so very quickly.”

“When this happens a giant explosion will occur,” Carter explained, “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.”

In addition to constant day light, Betelgeuse’s explosion will send a shower of harmless neutrino particles raining on Earth.

Dr. Carter’s predictions have traveled across the Internet at warp speed with many claiming that the scenario’s 2011 or 2012 is a fact, however he himself stated that they might not happen for another million years and other scientist are inclined to believe the latter.

Dr. Philip R. Goode, professor of physics at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, told Fox News: “Betelgeuse is a red supergiant and should supernova at some time. When? Who knows?”

Dr. Goode suggests that due to the unpredictability of supernovas one cannot pinpoint a time a date for the occurrence of such a phenomenon.

If and when the events transpire, as predicted by Carter, one will not have to go to a galaxy far, far away to observe the binary sunset of Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatuin, as depicted in the hit science fiction movie Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977).

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