Orion Constellation Research Papers

Orion Constellation Research Papers-15
These explosions allegedly happened on the order of 300 light years from Earth, meaning they hit us with radiation 4 times as strong (give or take) as what we’d expect from Betelgeuse.

These explosions allegedly happened on the order of 300 light years from Earth, meaning they hit us with radiation 4 times as strong (give or take) as what we’d expect from Betelgeuse.

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What the Betelgeuse-scare stories often gloss over is that “nearby” and “soon” are relative terms.

The way astronomers use them is quite different from the way we use those words in everyday conversation.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, if you are hoping for some really exciting destruction), our Sun will not, can not ever explode as a supernova. No nearby star is a supernova candidate either–not surprising, since stars massive enough to go supernova are few and far between.

The closest likely candidates are two bright red stars that are both prominent in the sky, and that are both coincidentally rather similar in distance: Antares in the constellation Scorpius and Betelgeuse in Orion.

Not because I’m particularly gloomy (according to my friends and family, I’m actually more of a goof), but because they are fabulous ways to illustrate the workings of the universe.

Orion Constellation Research Papers

They are also great for making you appreciate the delicate set of contingencies that allow us to exist right now, right here on Earth.Surely that would do some nasty stuff to us, right?But there is a reason that our planet has not been destroyed yet, despite having loitered around the galaxy for some 4.5 billion years.As soon as we pick apart that term “soon,” the situation starts to look less dire.Astronomers estimate that Betelgeuse is approximately 10 million years old, and it began expanding into a red giant 40,000 years ago.In that case, the likelihood that you will live to see Betelgeuse go boom is a good, solid zero.Time to go back to worrying about asteroids and all of the bad things we humans are inflicting on ourselves.Betelgeuse is too far away to significantly ionize Earth’s atmosphere and strip away its ozone layer, for instance.Don’t get me wrong, it will be spectacular (as illustrated below by Henrykus/Celestia), but probably not deadly.It’s something that we know has happened in the past, possibly with significant impact on our planet, and there’s nothing we can do to prevent the next one.I’m talking about a nearby supernova (and mindful, too, that “disaster” literally means “bad star”).

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