Soon two suns in the sky

Astronomers predict that in the near future there will be a second sun in our sky.

Betelgeuse the infamous red super-giant star in Orion’s nebulaone and one of the night sky’s brightest stars is losing mass, indicating it is collapsing. It could run out of fuel and go super-nova at any time.

When that happens, we’ll get our second sun, according to Dr Brad Carter, Senior Lecturer of Physics at the University of Southern Queensland.

For at least a few weeks, we’d see a second sun and there may also be no night during that timeframe, Carter says.

“When a star goes bang, the first we will observe of it is a rain of tiny particles called nuetrinos,” says Dr Carter.

“They will flood through the Earth and bizarrely enough, even though the supernova we see visually will light up the night sky, 99 per cent of the energy in the supernova is released in these particles that will come through our bodies and through the Earth with absolutely no harm whatsoever.”

Stars such as the supernova produce elements that are critical to life on Earth.

The Star Wars-esque scenario could happen by 2012, Carter says… or it could take longer. The explosion could also cause a neutron star or result in the formation of a black hole 1300 light years from Earth, reports news.com.au.

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