Will Mayan apocalypse occur when Betelgeuse goes nova in 2012?

betelguese supernova

Betelgeuse, a star in the constellation Orion, will eventually go nova and some think it will trigger the Mayan apocalypse. Image: Wikemedia Commons

A myth has been circulating for years that the world will end in 2012 because the Mayan calendar says so. An Australian news site added another appendage to the 2012 myth with a story that the star Betelgeuse could go nova in 2012. Scientists scoff at the notion, because Betelgeuse is more than 600 light years away.

Betelgeuse is about to explode, maybe

According to News.com.au, Betelgeuse is about to go nova, perhaps in 2012. When it does, the blast will be as bright as a second sun. Apparently this is the omen that believers in the Mayan apocalypse have been looking for. Betelgeuse, a red giant star in the constellation Orion, is indeed hinting that it may explode one day. The star is losing mass, which means the burning fuel in its core that supports its immense size is burning out. when that happens, Betelgeuse will collapse in on itself, explode and voila, supernova.

No hope for a Betelgeuse tan

When Betelgeuse goes nova, the blast would flash tens of millions of times brighter than the sun. However, Betelgeuse is more than 640 light years away. At that distance the supernova would not match the brightness of the full moon, but it would be brighter than Venus. The light would cast a shadow, but no one is going to get a Betelgeuse tan. A supernova would have to be within 25 light years of Earth to have an impact. Betelgeuse would have to be even closer than that to trigger Armageddon. About all we can expect is a shower of neutrinos, harmless cosmic particles that are constantly passing through our bodies and the Earth to no effect.

Betelgeuse supernova one heck of a show

The Mayan calendar allegedly predicts the end of the world in 2012, but the odds of Betelgeuse exploding next year are slim. Astronomers say it could be anywhere from 100,000 years to a million years or more. It’s impossible to know for sure. Perhaps Betelgeuse has already gone nova and we don’t know it yet. For a Betelgeuse supernova in 2012, it would have exploded in the fifth century. But when the light finally arrives, everyone on Earth will be able to see. Betelgeuse holds a position in the sky that is visible just about everywhere but the south pole. It should be a good show.


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