Comprehending this fact, you know, to what extent this a tiny grain of sand – land, lost in the vast expanses of space! And if the threats to human existence that we create ourselves, have a chance to deal, in space there are forces that can in one moment erase astronomical maps the entire system of planets orbiting an ordinary star – the Sun!
We are talking about the explosions of supernovae. Something similar has happened in human memory, in 1054, when the supernova exploded, transformed later into the Crab Nebula. This incident is described in detail in the Chinese annals, the brightness of the flash was so significant that it within a month you can even watch the afternoon! But there was a cataclysm that is very far away, even on space standards, from the Earth, the light from the flash is going to our planet 5,500 years!
But now astronomers have found a supernova candidate closer – it’s Betelgeuse in the constellation Orion. Distance to the star – about six hundred light-years, the system is not the closest, but not very far into the galactic scale.
The conclusion is that Betelgeuse is unstable, scientists have made on the basis of data on changes in the star’s spectrum. Even in the first century AD, Chinese astronomers described the star’s light as white or yellow. And later, in the chronicles of Ptolemy’s star has been characterized as a red. This change in the spectrum speaks of using up stocks of hydrogen in the interior of the star. A hydrogen – the main fuels, which is stellar and the thermonuclear reaction.
According to the calculations of the astronomer at the University of Southern Queensland Australian Brad Carter, Betelgeuse could explode at any moment. And it will be the explosion of a supernova, as the mass of the star at twenty times the mass of the Sun, and for such a disaster only if its mass were nine times more solar. If Betelgeuse will explode as a supernova in the six hundred light-years from Earth, the star will be similar to the mirror point, bright as the full moon. Under the open sky at night is quite possible to read the newspaper, and within six months it will be easily visible in daylight.
Will the explosion of a supernova threaten life on Earth? Event-scale … If the sky will light source, comparable Moon, the planet will come not only light. With the explosion of a supernova at the same time releases massive amounts of energy. Of course, all that is in the immediate vicinity of the supernova, burned and swept away solar wind. a distance of six hundred light-years, the wind, of course, weaken, although it will be very noticeable. Even the most powerful magnetic storm that ever raged on the planet, darkened space in front of this storm, which will cover the magnetosphere in a few months!
But the main stream of gamma rays that can destroy the ozone layer of the Earth, the supernova will radiate two beams pointing in the same direction as the pole star. The serious danger threatens the planet only if the pole Betelgeuse sent directly to us. Then the hard radiation can indeed sterilize the planet, killing every living thing in it.
There is a positive side: given the distance to the star and the size of the Earth, the likelihood of such a scenario is small – one billionth of a percent. And- Betelgeuse may be already exploded, because the light from the flash will go to us six years. And when the explosion occurred, say, three years ago, during the reign of Peter the Great, the consequences will be able to see it only our descendants through three years in 2313, and if 600 years ago