Friday, January 10, 2014

Question: Which Star is Likely to go Supernova in Our Lifetimes?

Question: I have read that supernovae only happen in our galaxy every hundred years or so, so which star is the most likely candidate to go nova soon? What will it look like from Earth?"

Answer: It"s difficult to be sure exactly which star will be the first to go, but we have a few candidates to consider. The first candidate is one of the brightest stars in the sky. Eta Carinae, as its called, is a heavyweight star located some 7,500 light-years from Earth. Moving onward, we have IK Pegasus, one of two stars in an ill-fated binary system. One of the stars, IK Pegasus A, will soon transform into a red-giant (this transformation marks the beginning of the end for sun-like stars), subsequently transferring matter to its companion white-dwarf, IK Pegasus B. This process will culminate in a type 1a supernova blast.

Of course, we can"t ignore Antares, a super-giant in the constellation of Scorpio. It too has a companion star that will explode in a type 1a blast. Neither of these are more likely to explode than Betelgeuse. (Perhaps if we say it three times, we"ll get to see it in our lifetimes? Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!)

Find out more about the star and how it will look on Earth, here:

Image Credit: ESO/L. Calçada (Larger image:

No comments:

Post a Comment