Despite Betelgeuse’s recent faintening and brightening, I’d bet on these stars instead.
Betelgeuse, a nearby red supergiant, will someday explode.
One of our brightest stars, its recent dimming portends an eventual supernova.
A “stellar burp” ejected matter, causing Betelgeuse’s temporary, routine faintening.
Meanwhile, these 5 Milky Way candidates could easily go supernova first.
1.) Antares. Closer and larger than Betelgeuse, massive Antares is ~11–15 million years old.
This red supergiant should explode within ~10,000 years.
2.) Eta Carinae. This famous “supernova impostor” has brightened, historically, numerous times.
Its remaining lifetime could span centuries, or merely years.
3.) WR 102. Wolf-Rayet stars represent the final evolutionary phases for massive stars expelling their outer layers.
WR 102 is the hottest: 210,000 K, foreshadowing a stellar cataclysm.
4.) WR 142. The second-hottest Wolf-Rayet star, WR 142’s demise is inevitable.
Similarly hot, depleted, and oxygen-rich Wolf-Rayet candidates include WR 30a and WR 93b.
5.) T Coronae Borealis. White dwarfs siphoning mass from red giants can trigger type Ia supernovae.
T Coronae Borealis’s white dwarf now approaches this critical mass threshold.
Similarly, 5 common “next supernova” candidates are relatively unlikely.
V Sagittae, IK Pegasi B, γ Velorum, WR 124, and ρ Cassiopeiae all require additional steps.
Our next supernova might deliver a multi-messenger trifecta:
- gravitational waves,
- and light,
Mostly Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in images, visuals, and no more than 200 words. Talk less; smile more.
Starts With A Bang is written by Ethan Siegel, Ph.D., author of Beyond The Galaxy, and Treknology: The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive.