Get ready for real global warming -- the Earth could soon have two suns. "Soon" is a relative term, as you'll see in a moment.
According to an article on the science web site io9.com, there is a red supergiant star named Betelgeuse in the Orion constellation that is getting ready to go supernova, which means it is getting ready to explode. And when it does, look out, because it will be so bright that Earth will briefly seem to have two suns in the sky. Scientists say the thing will explode anytime between tomorrow, and the next million years.
The site writes:
But still, whether the explosion occurs in 2011 or 1002011 (give or take 640 years for the light to reach Earth), it's going to make for one of the most unforgettable light shows in our planet's history. For a few weeks, the supernova will be so bright that there will appear to be two stars in the sky, and night will be indistinguishable from day for much of that time. So don't count on getting a lot of sleep when Betelgeuse explodes, because the only sensible thing for the world to do will be to throw a weeks-long global supernova party.
Now, there is apparently a lot of doomsday talk surrounding this eventual supernova, but experts say it is too far away from Earth to do us any damage.
"When a star goes bang, the first we will observe of it is a rain of tiny particles called neutrinos." physicist Brad Carter explained. "They will flood through the Earth and bizarrely enough, even though the supernova we see visually will light up the night sky, 99 per cent of the energy in the supernova is released in these particles that will come through our bodies and through the Earth with absolutely no harm whatsoever."
Whenever it happens, the Betelgeuse explosion will likely be the most dramatic supernova Earth has ever witnessed or probably will ever witness. There have been a handful of supernovas throughout history -- the last one visible on Earth was in 1604, so we're due for something big.