Astroquizzical: What happens when Betelgeuse explodes? (Synopsis)

One of the great, catastrophic truths of the Universe is that everything has an expiration date. And this includes every single point of light in the entire sky.

Image credit: Rogelio Bernal Andreo of Deep Sky Colors, via http://deepskycolors.com/astro/JPEG/RBA_Orion_HeadToToes.jpg.
Image credit: Rogelio Bernal Andreo of Deep Sky Colors, via http://deepskycolors.com/astro/JPEG/RBA_Orion_HeadToToes.jpg.

The most massive stars — like Betelgeuse (at the upper left) — will die in a spectacular supernova explosion when their final stage of core fuel runs out. At only an estimated 600 light years distant, Betelgeuse is one (along with Antares) of the closest red supergiants to us, and it’s estimated to have only perhaps 100,000 years until it reaches the end of its life.

When that happens, what are we in for?

Image credit: ESO/P. Kervella, of Betelgeuse as seen today, at the highest resolution ever observed. Via http://www.eso.org/public/images/eso0927b/.
Image credit: ESO/P. Kervella, of Betelgeuse as seen today, at the highest resolution ever observed. Via http://www.eso.org/public/images/eso0927b/.

Please welcome Jillian Scudder to Starts With A Bang, and enjoy her debut post on what happens when Betelgeuse explodes!