Betelgeuse Might Be Getting Ready To Explode – Here Is What Would Happen If It Does

Stargazers have had their eyes on Betelgeuse for a while now. It’s a giant red star just 500 light-years away, and its weirdness has been giving us some serious hints that something big may happen soon. For example, there was the time it dimmed significantly between 2019 and 2020 before shooting back up in brightness– like never seen before. All of this has people wondering whether Betelgeuse might go supernova any minute.

It’s highly unlikely to occur in our short lives, but Albert Ziljstra, an astrophysicist from Manchester University, was curious enough to figure out what the aftermath of Betelgeuse’s explosion would be like on Earth. He explored this idea with enthusiasm.

Ziljstra wrote for The Conversation that the first sign of Betelgeuse’s imminent death would be a shower of harmless neutrinos coming down from the sky. Not long after, it would suddenly light up big time– like a beacon in the night that could outshine the full moon. This glow would slowly settle but stay visible throughout the day for half a year or longer.

But as night fell, the true wonder would come alive. Betelgeuse would engulf the nocturnal sky with its shimmering effulgence for up to a couple of years and be discernible even by unaided eyes. Nevertheless, it would eventually faded out of sight forever.

Despite Betelgeuse’s closeness, Ziljstra underscores that there’s nothing to worry about. Radiation from a supernova at that proximity would be inconsequential if compared with other sources of radiation on Earth– unless it happened only 30 light-years away. Then we’d be talking real trouble– like ozone layer depletion and mass extinction. The chance of this happening? Just once every billion years.

Betelgeuse blowing up wouldn’t be bad news for us earthlings, but it would be a mind-blowing show in the night sky. As Ziljstra so accurately put it, it’d be like ‘a bright new star’. Astrophysicists are champing at the bit to catch a glimpse of this grand finale.

Finally, the probable supernova of Betelgeuse would be a captivating spectacle visible day and night for a considerable amount of time. Even if it wouldn’t have much of an effect on Earth, the event is nonetheless worth thinking about because of its fascinating scientific implications. Betelgeuse serves as a reminder of the vast power and beauty that exist outside the confines of our planet as we work to understand the mysteries of the cosmos.

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