Betelgeuse is one of the biggest stars in our universe, and it is almost 950 times bigger than our sun. Now you can have an idea of how huge this star is.
However, having such a huge mass comes with a price. As we know, all the stars have a life expectancy, even the sun. Don’t worry there are almost 5 billion years left for the sun.
Therefore, Betelgeuse also has a life expectancy it is like a ticking time bomb that can explode at any time. However, we don’t know when it is going to explode.
Betelgeuse is so huge that if it were in the center of our solar system, it would cover the orbit of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and possibly even Jupiter.
Now there must be so many questions in your mind. Will it go supernova? Will it explode? Or will Betelgeuse become a black hole?
What if today is the last day of this huge red sphere? Will it be the end of mankind? Is it going to vanish our existence?
So today, we are going to explore all the possibilities of what might happen to Betelgeuse and how it is going to affect us (earth)
How is its Explosion Going to Affect the Earth?
Betelgeuse is one of the closest stars as its 650 light years away from the earth. Moreover, astronomers and even anyone with a telescope can have a look at this red supergiant, which makes it even more special.
Therefore, people want to know all the possibilities that can happen once it runs out of fuel like every other star. However, when it explodes, it will turn into a massive supernova there is also a possibility that it will even become a black hole in the process.
Now the most important question are we in danger? Well.. certainly not, as it is so far away (650 light-years). However, it is similar to a nuclear explosion, and it can only affect upto a range of 50 light years.
Thus, we are safe even if this super giant calls it quits today. However, anything within the 50 light-years of the Betelgeuse will suffer massive shockwaves and clusters of dust and radiation.
However, we are further away from this range, and all we are going to observe is a celestial show. You will feel the brightness in the sky even in the daytime as it is so massive. It will not be something that you will miss within a blink. It will go on for a while due to its huge size.
It will be a breathtaking sight to witness this red supergiant fading away, as it’s the fate of every star, and this one is no exception.
What would happen if Betelgeuse was closer to Earth?
Now, this is hypothetical, and we are talking about what; if so, don’t freak out. However, if we were too close to Betelgeuse at the time of its explosion. Our atmosphere and the basic structure of all living beings i.e., cells, would be destroyed.
It would just be like the movies that we watch about the end of the world. It would be like another big bang which would vanish mankind as well as other species. Due to strong radiations and gamma waves, the intensity will be so high that it can causegenetic mutationsand can burn you entirely.
Talking about Gamma rays, they are incredibly powerful energy is so intense, even more than the light itself. However, if Betelgeuse was closer to the earth (in the radius of 50 light years), it would be literally impossible for us to survive the explosion of the Red Supergiant.
A massive explosion with a mass that is 950 times bigger than the sun. It would destroy the earth within a few seconds.
However, thankfully we are too far away from the Betelgeuse to have any direct effect on us.
What will it look like when Betelgeuse goes Supernova?
At 10 million years of age, this super giant is an old star and might burn its hydrogen quickly. However, within the next 10 million years ( in the solar system, it’s like a blink of an eye), Betelgeuse will explode into a supernova that will be visible from earth.
As a red Supergiant, Betelguese will diffuse heavier and heavier metal until its core becomes so heavy that it would not be able to withstand its own weight and the gravitational force.
However, during these last moments, Betelgeuse will collapse itself and explode into the milky way.
The explosion will be so massive that we will not be able to miss out on it and will observe the extraordinary brightness in the sky, even in the daylight. Moreover, there are assumptions that it may also last as long as weeks or months before it eventually fades away into space.
Furthermore, it will not be the first time that we will be able to see such a magnificent celestial show from the earth. In the year 1604, Kepler’s Star exploded in a supernova that lasted for over three weeks and was bright enough to be visible even during daylight.
Since then, many of the stars outside the milky way have exploded, but none of them was close to the Betelguese.
The Bottom Line
Betelguese is unlikely to cause any harm to us as it’s too far away from us. However, if you want to keep an eye on this huge star, it can be located in the upper left corner of the Orion constellation, appearing as a reddish-orange color star.
With so many new inventions like EMIT, we have a better understanding of our universe. Furthermore, if you observe it, remember that a flickering distant source of light may have already exploded, and it’s on its way to you, ready to cause a once-in-a-lifetime celestial show.