The star Betelgeuse will reveal likelihood to go supernova by Feb 21st

Feb 21st is the day we’ll know if the puzzling dimming of Betelgeuse is just an alignment of dimming cycles in a highly variable star, or a prelude to a supernova we’ll be able to witness with our bare eyes. If it happens, the dying star will be visible in the daytime and shine as bright as the moon.

From Spaceweather.com :

For months, astronomers have been keeping a wary eye on Betelgeuse, the bright red star in Orion’s shoulder. What’s attracting their attention? All of a sudden, Betelgeuse isn’t bright anymore. Its luminosity has “fallen off a cliff”–a sign that the star could be on the verge of going supernova.

“The most recent measurements put the visual magnitude of Betelgeuse at about +1.66, the dimmest its been in our 25 years of photometry,” says Edward Guinan of Villanova University. 

Above: The horizontal axis is Heliospheric Julian Date (HJD). For reference, Jan. 30, 2020, the date of the most recent measurement, has an HJD of 2458879.

Betelgeuse is a highly evolved red supergiant–the type of star that could collapse and explode at any moment. Indeed, the dimming of Betelgeuse could be explained if the star has suddenly contracted to about 92% of its previous radius. But that’s not the only possibility. Betelgeuse might be dimmed by a giant starspot–or maybe it is shrouded by an outburst of stardust from its own cool outer layers–or something else entirely. No one knows.

Answers might be forthcoming on Feb. 21st. Astronomers have long known that Betelgeuse is a variable star. It pulsates with many periods, as shown in this Fourier analysis of Betelgeuse’s light curve:

Above: A period analysis of 23 years (1995-2018) of Betelgeuse photometry. Credit: Peranso.

“This shows a dominant (probable pulsation) period of P = 430 days,” note Guinan and colleague Richard Wasatonic in a recent Astronomical Telegram. Given this result, “the minimum brightness is expected on 21 (+/-7d) February 2020.”

If Betelegeuse starts to bounce back on Feb. 21st, this whole episode might just be a deeper-than-average pulsation, and perhaps the supernova watch can be called off. However, notes Guinan, “even if the 430-day period is still working, this would indicate a minimum brightness near 0.9 mag–much brighter than the current value near 1.6 mag. So something very unusual is going on.”

Stay tuned for updates as Feb. 21st approaches.

From Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Explanation: Why is Betelgeuse fading? No one knows. Betelgeuse, one of the brightest and most recognized stars in the night sky, is only half as bright as it used to be only five months ago. Such variability is likely just normal behavior for this famously variable supergiant, but the recent dimming has rekindled discussion on how long it may be before Betelgeuse does go supernova. Known for its red color, Betelgeuse is one of the few stars to be resolved by modern telescopes, although only barely. The featured artist’s illustration imagines how Betelgeuse might look up close. Betelgeuse is thought to have a complex and tumultuous surface that frequently throws impressive flares. Were it to replace the Sun (not recommended), its surface would extend out near the orbit of Jupiter, while gas plumes would bubble out past Neptune. Since Betelgeuse is about 700 light years away, its eventual supernova will not endanger life on Earth even though its brightness may rival that of a full Moon.

163 thoughts on “The star Betelgeuse will reveal likelihood to go supernova by Feb 21st

  1. And there will be signs in the Heavens…

    I wonder though, could there be any type of shock wave that perhaps arrives a little later than the actual short term supernova brightening? 700 light years in the scheme of things as far as the Universe is concerned isn’t that far away. We don’t get many of these, so it is hard to predict what actualities may come from this if and when it does actually happen. And of course, it could be just huffing and puffing for another 50,000 years before it does blow its lid.

    • There have been a couple of spikes in the sedimentary record of Iron-60, in traces of dust from “nearby” supernovae about 2 and 6 million years ago. But from Betelgeuse, the dust would take a LONG time to get here; probably 100,000 years.

    • “The star Betelgeuse will reveal likelihood to go supernova by Feb 21st.”

      The media will soon follow with articles blaming the event on global warming, climate change and fossil fuel combustion.

      • With Greta Thunberg piping in to let us know that we adults have robbed her generation of the future of enjoying Betelgeuse as preceding generations knew it. HOW COULD WE (let it happen)?

      • If this is how your brain functions, thinking that the media is going to blame a supernova hundreds of light years from earth on global warming, here’s something for you to work on to alleviate your concerns:

        Let’s convince Trump to fly up there to the vicinity of Betelgeuse and check it out so he can disprove any fake news about it.

  2. No word yet from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy contributor Ford Prefect who lives near there. So unlikely to explode.

    • I think of it as looking back in time. In fact I believe a telescope is the closest thing we have to a time machine.

        • Well according to Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity, all astronauts and cosmonauts that have spent spent much time orbiting Earth have actually gone back in time (aged less) relative to us due to their time spent at significantly higher velocity relative to us. It’s called time dilation, as speeds approach that of the speed of light.

          Why they still exist in our universe (i.e., our space-time continuum, the timeline of Earth-bound observers and even with only microseconds of accumulated time dilation), is a conundrum that I will leave for others to explain.

          • They are actually gone. What we see is just a hologram of them projected back in time to our reference frame.
            As for Betelgeuse, it seems to me that it actually ‘sploded 700 years ago…right around the time that the MWP ended and the LIA started cranking up.
            Coincidence?
            Hmmm.
            In any case, the arrival of the light front will probably start the next phase of the return to full ice age conditions.
            Bring in the kittens, and break out your mittens folks…you have about ten days to hit Costco for 17 metric tons of rice per person in your household, and some water.
            Break out your flannel and tune in the Weather Channel…ice ages can get a little nippy…mostly cloudy with a chance of 10,000 feet of ice on top of your house.
            Do not say I did not warn ye!

          • It has been my experience that one year is one year. We would still age at the same rate no matter how fast we could ever travel.

      • rah:

        …I think of it as looking back in time. In fact I believe a telescope is the closest thing we have to a time machine….

        Yes indeed!
        Cheers
        Mike

      • Greg S.
        February 11, 2020 at 4:48 am

        Yes, it does sound a bit ad hoc and/or sloppy.

        However, I think the problem is that this star is just so diffuse at its outer margins that it’s very hard to use standard parallax techniques to see its shift against background stars.

        Anyway, the main thing is that it’s far enough away that it should not do us too much damage.

        Could it be that here too, the science is not settled!

        • What if it turns out that one of the poles of Betelgeuse is pointed straight at Earf?
          That bolixes up all the calcumalations and makes it very dicy at best.

    • Except we deal with events in time referring to the event happening at the time it affects us.
      If it hasn’t affected us yet, it hasn’t happened yet.

  3. I had a look at Betelgeuse last night. It really is noticably much dimmer than normal. Orion just does not look the same.

  4. Even if we don’t know till Feb 22nd or 23rd, it’s stunning (to me) that the fate of the star can be based on observations from just a few days.

    Thanks, Anthony, for running a stunning blog.

    • The story says they have been studying if for “months”. I read about here about a month back.
      Apparently nuetrinos will arrive on Earth first if there is a supernova, not that they are faster than light, but star dust etc will obscure the earliest photons .

    • What is stunning to me is the hubris of such statements. Our understanding of how stars work is infantile in relation to the complexity of such a beast and how it will evolve ( or not ) into a supernova.

      Making such sweeping claims based on the presence of one apparently small cycle of which we have no understanding is scientific idiocy. However, this kind of stupid speculative statement seems to be bread and butter “science communication” these days. Get your name in the papers and promote visibility of your research in the hope it will help you next grant application.

      • Dead right! There are enough weasel-words in the article to fuel a typical Warmist rant on CO2 tipping points. Nicely rounded out with an artist’s impression of what Betelgeuse “might” look like.
        I suppose it’s only a matter of time before engineering theses and reports are couched in similar language. That will be the final nail in the coffin of meaningful science.

        • That’s right, the article is an absurdity. Still a public service for WUWT to report it, though. But maybe a few words of context could have been added.

          • I have been reading about this for months. It was not very topical last year but as the predicted date draws closer and is estimated more precisely, we could have a really interesting sign in the heavens. I have never seen a star bright enough to be visible in the daytime. This is gonna be cool.

            If it is accompanied by an electrically charged gravity shock wave that tilts the Earth a few degrees, that would be educational as well. I want to see how quickly the GPS satellite people fix the apps for the new tilt.

            Hey! If the rest of you can speculate, so can I.

          • Crispin in Waterloo
            February 11, 2020 at 12:50 pm

            As you are probably aware you can see about half a dozen stars in the daytime (apart from the Sun of course) if you have a telescope. You just have to know where to point it.

            Here at Stargazers Astronomy Tours in NZ we show our guests some of these and they are amazed…the closest star to us apart form the Sun is Alpha Centauri (4.3 light years away) and shows as a lovely double star…often best seen in the daytime actually. And of course the planet Venus is often visible in the daytime to the naked eye…again just a matter of knowing where to look. It’s fun to see it rise early in the morning as the “morning star” and to then follow it with the naked eye as it rises up in the sky during the day. One problem is its hard to get the eye to focus at infinity during the day to make a star stand out from the glare. An out of focus eye will not see any stars or even Venus during the daytime.

          • Re:

            NZ Willy February 11, 2020 at 11:14 am
            That’s right, the article is an absurdity. Still a public service for WUWT to report it, though. But maybe a few words of context could have been added.

            A caption for the graph might help:

            “The graph (above) shows the regular recurrence of the red giant’s pulsations over the last 3000 days. The viewer may fully appreciate its accuracy by standing on one’s head and looking indirectly at the curve with one eye slightly askance and the other out of focus … do you see it yet? You get Thursday, too?”

      • I didn’t read it that way at all. It just seemed to survey the possibilities indicated by the recent diming in the context of what has been measured in the past. It said; ‘Betelgeuse is a highly evolved red supergiant–the type of star that could collapse and explode at any moment. Indeed, the dimming of Betelgeuse could be explained if the star has suddenly contracted to about 92% of its previous radius. But that’s not the only possibility. Betelgeuse might be dimmed by a giant starspot–or maybe it is shrouded by an outburst of stardust from its own cool outer layers–or something else entirely. No one knows.” Maybe the hubris was somewhere else, but I wouldn’t mind being shown where.

        • “‘Betelgeuse is a highly evolved red supergiant–the type of star that could collapse and explode at any moment. ”

          Except we haven’t observed ANY star through its life cycle. Everything in the above statement could just as well be totally wrong as right.

      • Double dead right! … Except I think there’s more than a bit of media trolling thrown in for clicks. If you read the Wikipedia page on this, whomever wrote that admits they don’t really know and most think it’s unlikely this will be “the big one”.

        • Actually, I’d feel really privileged to be able to see such a thing, and happy to be wrong. It would be wonderful. I’m hoping it happens…but you won’t catch me putting any money on it.

    • Yes, thanks to Anthony. I actually read this sort of news item with much more interest now than all the climate change news – really all appearing a bit hackneyed after a decade of it!

  5. If it does happen then I guess we’ll all be doing Jasper Kirkby’s CERN cosmic rays experiment, only without CERN. Since Wikipedia tells us that their speed is “nearly” the speed of light, how far behind the actual light would they be?

    • Well, on a regular day for the sun, neutrinos get about a hundred thousand years’ head start. I suppose when Betelgeuse does blow, the lag time will be less.

    • Maybe we will not have to get the published results being constrained to be “politically correct” by the management too !!

      Did we ever find out what Kirby’s work really showed ( even non PC results ) ?!

      • Greg: “Did we ever find out what Kirby’s work really showed ( even non PC results ) ?!”

        IIRC… some trees give off chemicals, that in conjunction with cosmic rays, can seed the cloud-base lower, increasing the depth of the cloud (top to bottom) and increasing these clouds cooling effect, but that this effect seemed to have been overtaken by cloud seeding caused by pollution.

        Not sure how significant their discovery was…

        Absent human activity, it sort of seemed to me that more trees might increase their cooling effect.

      • “Cosmic rays enhance the formation of cloud condensation nuclei in the presence of biogenic vapors.”

        That is the conclusion.

        In the southern hemisphere, all cloud condensation nuclei are from biogenic vapors, primarily produced by plankton.

        In the northern hemisphere, according to Kirkby, most cloud condensation nuclei are formed on particles of sulfuric acid from pollution.

        The irony is that CO2 could increase biogenic vapors.

    • A cosmic ray that is travelling at 99% of the speed of light, will arrive around 7 years after we see the super nova.

      • Perfectly true if a bit redundant (posted twice;-). But, the “medium” is pretty scant compared to what we use as lenses. Also, cosmic rays a largely charged particles though gamma rays are consider a type of cosmic ray. The charged particles will affected by electro-magnetic fields they encounter. I imagine plasma cosmologists are warming up for an event.

  6. I wonder about the estimates of luminosity if Betelgeuse does go Super Nova. SN 1054 is about 6,500 light years away and Betelgeuse is only 700 or so. If in fact the Crab Nebula SN-1054 are the remains of the Supernova that the Chinese and others observed then I would not be surprised, based on their accounts of the luminosity of that event, that if Betelgeuse goes supernova it would be brighter than a full moon.

    Anyway, I’m not holding my breath.

    • A week or so to reach maximum luminosity.
      The core collapse is just seconds , the shockwave takes hours to reach the surface and then it’s 700 yrs journey to reach our star system, but we are 700 years behind of course.
      The collapse could happen at any time , the data doesn’t cover that just it’s usual cycle .

      • Except the article says the predicted dimming would have its magnitude down to 0.9, but it’s dimmer than that at 1.6 mag.

  7. The graph is the Fourier analysis of the light curve. I am always skeptical when someone invokes Fourier analysis.

    •Fourier Series deal with functions that are periodic over a finite interval. e.g.−1< x <1.The function is assumed to repeat outside this interval.

    •Fourier Series are useful if (a) the function really is periodic, … link

    So, Fourier analysis is valid for a repeating pattern. My question always is, are they looking at a repeating pattern? In this case, there are around 8400 days in 23 years. The longest period on the graph is around 3000 days so that oscillation would have had time to repeat around three times. Hooray! Their analysis passes the sniff test.

    In climate science it is common for people to run a Fourier analysis on data that they have no evidence repetition. “We’ve run Fourier on a hundred years of data and we’ve found evidence of a 600 year cycle.” No, you bloody well have not! If you run Fourier on 2400 years of data, you can talk about having found a 600 year cycle because the pattern has obviously repeated a few times. Absent that simple criterion, you have no evidence that the pattern actually repeats. If the pattern doesn’t repeat, your 600 year cycle is meaningless.

    The link above came from a school of Physics and Astronomy. Apparently astronomers know what they’re doing. Climate scientists, on the other hand …

    • Don’t mix up Fourier series with Fourier transforms, commiBob. The latter is well suited for non-periodic data. When they say Fourier analysis I’m sure they mean transforms. That is common language.

      • In view of the sparsity of the data it is not a straight FT. Sadly they don’t what the source of that periodogram is, who did it nor how it was done. Typical lightweight pop science from Spacewatch.

        • Pretty sure they curve fitted/interpolated over the gaps in the data. However, at school we learnt how to FT discontinuous data as well.

          • whatever you did it was probably not FT. Please give details.

            There are techniques such as what Willis called his “slow fourier transform” but it’s curve fitting not FT.

      • The latter is well suited for non-periodic data.

        For what purpose? When someone has a hundred years of data and claims to have found a six hundred year cycle, it’s completely bogus.

        If we understand the nature of the data, FFT and IFFT are useful* even with quite short windows. On the other hand, as far as I can tell, the window is never shorter than the period of interest. Anyway, given the nature of the tools folks commonly use (Matlab, R, etc.), I assume, unless stated otherwise, that the analysis was done by an FFT.

        *It seems like modern communications protocol implementations are half FFTs and IFFTs and everything else is just glue to hold them together. 🙂

        • Bob, what you are ranting about is interpretation and probably the extrapolation of the FT outside the fitted data. That has nothing to do with maths. You can do an FT on any continuous, evenly spaced data. You should then be careful how you interpret the results.

          What you are saying about 600y cycles is fair but totally out of context here.

          • What I’m ranting about has nothing to do with the present article. Astronomers seem to know what they’re doing. Climate scientists often don’t. I’ve seen so much abuse of Fourier analysis on WUWT …

  8. I am disappointed that it is +/-7days. It is so difficult for me to continuously observe the sky for 14 days 🙁

  9. That 430 day cycle corresponds to the Chandler nutation in the Earths spin which has never been properly explained and is also a strong peak in the San Fransisco tidal data discussed here recently.

    Many surface records also have a peak just over 6 years.

    All part of the fundamental connectedness of all things. [ Douglas Adams again ]

    • If a wobble of less than 9 meters in the position of the poles on Earth can somehow affect the brightness of a star 700 ly away, then, obviously the CO2 content of our atmosphere can do likewise IMHO both propositions are balderdash.

      Incidently, the Chandler nutation is a free nutation due to a small misalignment of the rotation axis and the angular moment of inertia. Newton himself explained it over three centuries ago.

  10. Of course the supernova will be caused by Climate Change. Tides will increase a hundred-fold causing simultaneously floods and droughts, the worst since last December. Sharks will routinely patrol our streets eating random children and the next climate conference will be held on the summit of Mount Everest.

    Alternatively, the inhabitants of Betelgeuse have recently discovered how to receive BBC TV and decided that we all deserve to be exterminated. I am inclined to agree.

  11. Some stars will become brighter , some starts will become dimmer and some stars will stay the same. This is exactly what climate models predict will happen “in a warming world” due the our burning fossil fuels.

    WE MUST ACT NOW.

    • Greg: yes, right now. We must stop humans from making those brightening stars brighter, the dimming stars from becoming more dim, and the ones staying the same, we must… um, must…. damn, Climate Science is hard! Hang on a sec, I’ll ask Greta what to do with the “same” ones.

    • That’s for regular old red giants.

      Betelgeuse is much, much bigger. It’s on the last dregs of its helium, and likely burning its carbon and oxygen, maybe even its silicon now.

      At the core of Betelgeuse is degenerate iron, which releases no energy in fusing. Betelgeuse is headed for a core collapse supernova. The remnant will probably be a neutron star, with a chance at forming a black hole.

      • I wish we called it fusing instead of burning. Is the core iron yet? I thought that only happened for a few minutes at the end, right before the big bang.

        • ” I wish we called it fusing instead of burning. Is the core iron yet? I thought that only happened for a few minutes at the end, right before the big bang.”

          “burning” is the correct word and it takes approx 14 seconds to collapse after iron “begins” to form because there is nothing left to burn…BUT the core could be iron earlier when there was more to “burn”…

          http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/cosmos/C/Core-collapse

          • Burning implies combustion, a chemical process. This is fusion, a nuclear process. Freshman chemistry.

      • Oh noes, Patrick, it’s ‘burning’ carbon and oxygen?! Well so are we! Never mind that little bit of global warming before the end of this century, we’re about to explode! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!! (Is that enough exclamation punctuation to propel the newly escalated emotive crisis?)

  12. At the most recent previous Betelgeuse article here, I wrote that I have been blessed with two lifetime comets, Hayakutake and Hale-Bopp, and to be blessed to see a 1:100,000 year event is beyond imagination.

    The retorts were amusing in their public ignorance.

    So here is an opportunity to learn the difference between frequentist statistics and the probabilities of a unique event.

  13. The prospect of a black hole at 700 ly is not amusing. What is the axis of rotation for Betelgeuse?

    • Betelgeuse will become a neutron star.

      Sagittarius A* blackhole is only ten times as distant ~7000 ly and millions more massive.

    • If Betelgeuse does form a black hole, the total gravity at a distance will be less than the total gravity for the star as it currently is.

      • Good. You discovered the Wikipedia, my efforts and dollars aren’t wasted. But never quote the Wiki as an authority, always go at least one citation deeper.

        • For non-political subjects (not many of those anymore), wikipedia is OK for a starting point. Anything polluted by politics tho, forget wikipedia, or better, consider their info to be lies.

  14. Our grammar needs to be tightened up. Given that Betelgeuse is 642 light years away, it’s not a question of whether Betelgeuse will go supernova soon, but rather did it go supernova six centuries ago.

    Or I suppose we could define “now” to be a cone stretching out in time-space with a slope of the speed of light. I.e., things happen when the light reaches us.

  15. I love to see natural physical phenomena so bring it on so I can see it!

    Do I need to wear my tinfoil hat or would that increase my chance of being struck by lightening? Would wrapping a few coils of barbed wire around my tinfoil hat reduce the chance of a lightening strike or just make me look like some kind of dork?

    Anyway, I’ve marked my calendar.

    • I’ve decided to take no chances. I’m modifying my tinfoil hat to include multiple parabolic cones to reflect any incoming cosmic ‘rays’ as well as multiple rings of barbed wire coils!

      It needs padding for my head (comfort) as well as a grounding ‘drag’. My dog is not happy with the hat or even the idea!

      • We could just build a giant Faraday cage around the Earth, with modifications to prevent Gretafying the population.

  16. If you look at the complete history of V and visual magnitude observations of Betelguese from the AAVSO (going back to 1919) you find that around 1984-85 the star had a visual magnitude of about +2.0 compared to its current visual magnitude of about +1.5. So this is not the faintest that this star has been.

    https://twitter.com/ericmamajek/status/1208176941502590976?lang=en

    https://earthsky.org/space/betelgeuse-fainting-probably-not-about-to-explode

    V magnitudes are measured with a photometer through a standard “V” filter (i.e they are usually made through a telescope using an electronic light detector), while visual magnitudes are estimates made with the unaided eye using nearby reference stars to estimate the star’s magnitude.

    There are a number of cycles in the brightness of Betelgeuse and it is very likely that what we are seeing now in the current fainting is just a synchronization in the minimums of these cycles.

  17. Didn’t read every comment, so apologies if someone else already pointed this out – but the date of the 21st is surrounded by a +/- 7 day range – presumably something like a 95% confidence interval or some statistical cousin. So it’d probably be more accurate to say that if it either continues to decline or fails to recover after February 28th, we’re definitely in uncharted statistical waters.

  18. Now, if it would only stop being cloudy when Betelgeuse goes boom.
    (Not that boom is the correct word for a star’s collapse.)

  19. Welcome to the Snews-alert@lists.bnl.gov mailing list! Welcome to the
    SNEWS alert mailing list. You will only get mail from this list in
    event of the detection of supernova neutrinos, so you can get out and
    observe as early as possible (aside from rare list administrative
    emails). Any real alert email will be signed with the SNEWS gpg key,
    see http://snews.bnl.gov/ for details.

  20. I’ll have to see if I can actually see the dimmed-star Betelgeuse from my location (if it ever clears up — we’ve been having a lot of snow and fog in Colo. Spgs.) It’s my understanding that Betelgeuse is the upper-left star in the Orion constellation (the media said the northwest star).

  21. Fascinating, but the the odds of a relatively-close supernovae at any given time are very low. Much more likely an ejection of gas by the star, an intervening dust cloud in the line-of-sight, etc.

  22. The recent dimming of Betelgeuse seems much more pronounced than previous cycles over the past 10 years, so that it’s more likely that something major will happen soon, but how long does it take for a dimming red giant to completely collapse and then explode into a supernova? We could still be waiting for decades to come.

    If a Betelgeuse supernova would be as bright as the full moon, it would definitely be noticeable to the casual observer on a clear night, and possibly even during daylight hours when the sun is not near the constellation of Orion (a gibbous moon is often visible on sunny days in early morning or late afternoon). People wouldn’t need a telescope to see it.

    If Betelgeuse is over 600 light years away, the supernova may have already occurred before Columbus sailed the ocean blue, but we’re still waiting to get the message.

    • Steve Z, I’d agree, the cycles will most likely continue w/increasing volatility for some time, perhaps for many decades or more before a total core-collapse.

  23. Betelgeuse as a neutron star is predicted to have about 1.5 Solar Masses (See below). Lee Smolin predicted 2.1 Solar Mass minimum for Black Hole formation.

    Dolan, Michelle M.; Mathews, Grant J.; Lam, Doan Duc; Lan, Nguyen Quynh; Herczeg, Gregory J.; Dearborn, David S. P. (2017). “Evolutionary Tracks for Betelgeuse”. The Astrophysical Journal. 819 (1): 7. arXiv:1406.3143v2. Bibcode:2016ApJ…819….7D. doi:10.3847/0004-637X/819/1/7

  24. “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die. ”
    – Roy Batty, from Blade Runner

  25. If you wish upon a star and the star blows up while you are making your wish, does your wish still come true?

    And can I get a government grant to research that?

  26. There’s one more thing to add to the list of cosmic mysteries of the past couple of years.

    1) the first Russian fireball
    2) the deep-space asteroid Oumuamua, “the first known interstellar object detected passing through the Solar System.”
    3) several green comets. Green comets?
    4) another Russian fireball
    5) possible nearby supernova

    We’re being sized up, I’m telling ya.

  27. Another grand experiment is ‘running’ in the galactic lab! And we may witness demonstrative new data on February 21? Bring it on!

    Thanks for posting this, Anthony…. More, Please!

  28. Prayers for all the ovum planets in the kill zone, hatched yet or not. May as many of them as possible still produce the value of which they are capable.

    • What about the intelligent species in the kill zone? Frantically developing interstellar transport so a few of them might be able to escape total annihilation???

  29. Betelgeuse needs to be monitored in terms of all sorts of parameters so we will be able to predict future supernovas. Certainly iron being forged in the core is a sign that the end must be near. Being relatively close, there will be a wealth of information. Just hope any gamma ray burst is not headed in our direction.

    Nonetheless, WHEN the supernova comes, it will be spectacular. It is on the astronomical bucket list. Eta Carina is also on the watch list in terms of supernova. It could well be that both have blown up already but we are awaiting the result for those 7-10 thousand years.

    Hopefully, the idiotic greenie types blame human CO2 for the supenova. We can goad them in to supporting the notion since they are totally scientifically illiterate, then use the strawman against them, making total idiots of them.

    • ” … making total idiots of them.”

      It takes a lot less than a supernova to do that on a daily basis.

  30. Recent observations aside, the estimate is sometime in the next 10,000 years for Betelgeuse.
    This is just one scenario that could disrupt our lives and require the added protection of guns at home. There are many more possible events not being taken into account by the short sighted view of those wishing to take our protection away, and even those arguing against it.
    Arrogant, short sighted, blind.
    This supernova would disrupt satellites required for today’s high technology.
    EMP which they promise to protect us from.
    Can you think of a few more which we have been fortunate to avoid in recent history?
    It shouldn’t be their decision. Arrogance.

  31. In “Unclear Winter”, Charles Sheffield discussed the effect on Earth of various disasters – including a supernova within 100 lightyears of Earth. He calculates that would bombard us with radiation and particles roughly equivalent to a nuclear war. That should happen very roughly every 2 – 3 billion years.

    A supernova within 50 lightyears would be far worse. He says that there are aprox 1,000 star systems that close, so a very crude estimate is that on average that will happen every 10 billion years.

    That was published in 1988, so these estimates might have changed a lot since then with increasing knowledge.

  32. As bright as the full moon, but full spectrum light instead of pale gray moon light. And the shadows cast will have the sharpest edges ever seen, even for objects far away. It will be spectacularly noticeable for the few months it is at peak brightness.

  33. It seems there is a light in the night sky, may be incorrect, however, it seems, after measurements, in the position of betelgeuse and has been confirmed to not be the moon. And is showing abnormality. First thought to be UFO (Unidentified Flying Object). Now seeming to be a Supernova.

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