According to leading astrophysicists, a terrifying catastrophe may await our planet in the form of a supernova explosion.
These large-scale events in space could have a devastating impact on life on Earth, threatening not only human civilization , but also all biological diversity.
Supernovas are massive explosions that happen when certain stars run out of fuel and collapse under their own gravity. They are so bright and powerful that they can outshine entire galaxies for a brief period of time.
But what if one of these cosmic fireworks happened close enough to Earth to affect us? Could we survive such a cataclysmic event?
According to some researchers, the answer is not very reassuring. They have found evidence of two supernova explosions that occurred relatively near our planet in the past, and they suspect that another one might happen in the future.
The evidence comes from a rare isotope called iron-60, which is produced by supernovas and can be detected in ocean sediments.
Scientists have found traces of this isotope on Earth that date back to two events: one about 7 million years ago, when a star named SN Mio exploded about 360 light-years away from us, and another one about 3 million years ago, when a star named SN Plio exploded about 160-212 light-years away from us.
Fortunately, these explosions were far enough to not cause any major damage to life on Earth, thanks to our protective ozone layer.
However, they might have had some minor effects, such as increasing the cosmic radiation exposure or triggering climate changes.
But the real worry is about a star that is much closer to us and might explode in the near future: Betelgeuse.
Betelgeuse is a red giant star that is located about 550 light-years away from Earth. It is one of the brightest stars in the night sky and a part of the Orion constellation.
It is also known for its erratic behavior and dimming episodes, which have led some astronomers to speculate that it might be nearing the end of its life and ready to go supernova.
If that happens, it would be a spectacular sight for us, as Betelgeuse would become as bright as the full moon and visible even during the day.
But it would also pose a serious threat to life on Earth, as it would release a huge amount of radiation and particles that could damage our ozone layer and expose us to harmful rays.
The exact timing and consequences of Betelgeuse’s explosion are uncertain, as we do not have enough data to predict them accurately.
Some estimates suggest that it could happen anytime between now and the next 100,000 years, while others say that it might take much longer or never happen at all.
In any case, astrophysicists are keeping a close eye on Betelgeuse and other potential supernova candidates in our vicinity, as they try to learn more about these dangerous phenomena in the universe.