Above is an image of the constellation Orion, which is also the home to a ferocious red giant known as Betelgeuse. It is clearly visible as a bright point of fiery orange light. By analyzing its brightness, astrophysicists have uncovered that it’s extremely unstable and has dimmed by 15% in the past decade. At about ten million years old, It is a relatively young star but has sped through its life cycle as a result of its extraordinary mass.
At this very moment, there are hundreds of telescopes from around the world trained on this relatively nearby star, following its every move. This is because Betelgeuse is about to explode any time soon. And by “any time soon”, I mean it could burst into a fiery supernova either tomorrow or in a million years. Although we are quite uncertain about when exactly it will burst apart, we do know that when it does go, it will provide us with a spectacular stellar show. With the red giant being a mere 500 light years away, the explosion will be so incredibly bright that it may shine as bright as a full moon at night and fill the sky as a miniature second sun. Or maybe it has exploded as i write this blog-post but the light simply hasn’t reach us yet.
In a blink of an eye, Betelgeuse will release more energy that our sun has or ever will produce in its lifetime and if we’re lucky enough, we’ll get to witness it with our own eyes.
Whenever I see it, I stare at it half-expecting it to blow.