The Czar has an idea for GorT. Take a current Time magazine story back to the year 1936, and let the editors of that era read and comment accordingly. Bet that will be entertaining.
In case you did not know, the star Betelgeuse (α Orionis) is a really big star. So big, that if you put it where our sun is, it would engulf the distant orbit of Jupiter. It is so big, in fact, that we really have a hard time measuring how big it is.
One reason for this difficulty is because it seems to change shape: huge chunks of the star are blowing off, and this makes it hard to pinpoint its size, much as it is tough to measure the amount of soap bubbles in a sink if they keep swelling and bubbling up.
Another curious thing about Betelgeuse is that it is a young star, maybe only a dozen million years oldit would have been completely unknown to any dinosaur astronomers. Of course, to be fair, evidence suggests that dinosaurs were really bad about astronomy anyway.
Our own sun is a few billion years old, and has about a few billion years leftpretty typical, really. Nice and stable. But whenever a young star gets that big that fast, it has a tendency to explode into a gigantic supernova. They hardly ever live to see their fifteen millionth birthday.
And if you have done the math, you realize that Betelgeuse will probably blow up sometime within the next few million years. When it does, it ought to be pretty spectacular to whatever is still lurking around on our planet. A fantastic flash of light, and then a really bright star will light up the night skies, like a really big flashlight. It might be bright enough to see in the daytime sky, as well! After a few days, it will fade away fast and then disappear to a faint point of light, followed by a really cool nebula visible in a telescope.
So leave it to Time to swipe a badly researched article from HuffPo, that reports that Earth Will Have Two Suns! And adding that This Could Happen in 2012! And to emphasize the scary nature of this, they included a photo of the planet Venus transiting across the surface of our own sun. Which has nothing to do with anything.
The Czar sighs. Regrettably, while we do not know exactly when Betelgeuse will pop big time, it will not be in your lifetime. Or the probable lifetime of our species. And we will not have two suns. Just the one: and a really bright light in the sky, just as we had in 1054 when NGC 1952 blew up and lit up our daytime skies for a whopping 23 days. Yes, you are still doing the math: that event was brighter than Betelgeuse will be. And probably cooler.
20 minutes ago