Orion’s super-giant red star Betelgeuse ‘won’t explode in 2012′

Saturday, January 22, 2011

MELBOURNE - Experts have said that Betelgeuse, the giant red star in the constellation of Orion, will not explode next year.

Earlier, FoxNews.com had said that the star had already become a red giant, which indicates it will explode and become a supernova, but experts believe that won’t happen.

US astronomer Phil Plait noted on his blog that a supernova would have to be no farther than 25 light years away to “fry us with light or anything else and Betelgeuse is 25 times that distance,” reports News.com.au.

The story, which quoted a physics lecturer at the University of Southern Queensland, Brad Carter, had predicted that a giant explosion will occur, tens of millions of times brighter than the sun, and suggested the event could happen before 2012.

“It goes bang, it explodes, it lights up - we’ll have incredible brightness for a brief period of time for a couple of weeks and then over the coming months it begins to fade and then eventually it will be very hard to see at all,” Carter said.

But Plait explained that this is not likely, at least not in 2012.

“It’s hard to know just when a star will explode when you’re on the outside,” he said.

“Betelgeuse might go up tonight, or it might not be for 100,000 years. We’re just not sure.”

Carter followed up his comments by pointing to another article in New Scientist that quoted Nobel prize winner Charles Townes as saying there was no way of knowing how red giants behave at the end of their life cycle. (ANI)

Filed under: Science and Technology

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