How Long Would Betelgeuse Supernova Last (And Why?)

How Long Would Betelgeuse Supernova Last (And Why?)

Exact Answer: Till 100,000 years.

Astronomers have predicted that for at least 100,000 years from now, humans will see the Betelgeuse star explode as a supernova from the Earth.

Betelgeuse, the bright and beautiful red-colored dot on Orion’s shoulder, is one of the key identifiers of the constellation. It is the tenth-brightest star in the night sky and the second-brightest in the constellation of Orion after Rigel. Also, classified as a red supergiant of M1-2 spectral type.

Betelgeuse is one of the biggest stars that are visible to the naked eye. If it was in the center of the Solar system, then its surface would lie way beyond the Asteroid Belt. It would inundate the orbits of the four closest planets to the sun: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.

How Long Would Betelgeuse Supernova Last 1

How Long Would Betelgeuse Supernova Last?

According to some speculations by some professional astronomers, 100,000 years from now, we might see the Betelgeuse star explode as a supernova from the Earth. Unfortunately, there are still doubts the reasons are also questionable. Betelgeuse is equivalent to twenty times the mass of our Sun (table below) but not clearly said that it’s headed to becoming a supernova any time soon.

Betelgeuse already spent all the hydrogen as fuel in its core and has now moved on to the new element Helium, which fuses into carbon. Presently, the core of Betelgeuse is now considerably smaller than when it had been fusing hydrogen. The more it contracted and the tremendous rise in temperature led to the star to heat up and it began fusing helium. The outer layers, with this increased radiation pressure, expanded and cooled tremendously.

Its brightness has dropped, raising concerns because of the star being out-listed from the top 10 brightest stars list. Not only is the dimming considered a suspect to the possible supernova expected but also very improbable. Otherwise, considering big stars, sometimes due to the large convective cells in the outer layer, gas clouds might form. The gas clouds might be the reason behind this dimming.

If the supernova has to happen then the star will brighten to that point where it will exceed the brightness of the full Moon, casting brilliant shadows to watch in the night sky and will be visible during the day for years.

Betelgeuse Supernova
Heavenly BodyRadius Mass
Betelgeuse617.1 million km2.188 × 10^31 kg
Sun696,340 km1.989 × 10^30 kg

Why Would Betelgeuse Supernova Last So Long?

Betelgeuse might lie about 430 light-years from our Earth even though some of the estimates place it farther away considering the distances to red supergiant stars like Betelgeuse is likely a problem in astronomy.

Betelgeuse is way away, yet it’s one of the brightest stars visible from the Earth because it’s 100,000 times even brighter than our sun. Its enormous energy requires its fuel to be spent quickly, which reduces the gap to the end of its life. Someday, sooner or later the star will run out of its fuel and collapse under its weight. The result will be a spectacular supernova explosion. If this happens, the star will glow for a couple of weeks or even months, perhaps becoming as bright due to the full-of-the-moon, and be visible in broad daylight.

Betelgeuse Supernova

Betelgeuse is already out of its hydrogen phase because it has spent all of it as fuel in its core and has now moved on to the new fuel element Helium, which fuses into carbon. Presently, the core of Betelgeuse is now considerably smaller than when it had been fusing hydrogen. But it is not assured if Betelgeuse is presently fusing helium exclusively in its core. Considering the timescale of Helium, fusion lasts for 100,000 years but Carbon fusion lasts for hardly a few hundred. The speculated time limit might be mentioned because of this timescale.


Therefore, we can expect a supernova explosion of the Betelgeuse star maybe centuries later or even just a decade. But if Betelgeuse does explode later, our planet Earth is way too far for this cosmic event to harm the lives on Earth. The supernova explosion would be 642.5 light-years away from our earth approximately.

So, if the explosion has to harm us, we must be within 50 light-years close to the supernova according to astrophysicists. Betelgeuse is nearly ten times this distance. But, if the cosmic phenomenon does occur, our next generations might be able to witness it later. Astronomers must be willing to have Betelgeuse as close as it is so that they can study the star post-supernova.


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21 thoughts on “How Long Would Betelgeuse Supernova Last (And Why?)”

  1. Avatar of Matilda Campbell
    Matilda Campbell

    While it’s interesting to consider the possibility of Betelgeuse supernova, there are still doubts and questions surrounding the timeframe and process. It’s important to acknowledge these uncertainties.

  2. The scientific speculation and detailed information regarding Betelgeuse’s potential supernova are quite enlightening. The complexity of the process is truly fascinating.

    1. Absolutely, the intricacies of stellar processes and the vast timescales involved are a testament to the wonders of the universe.

  3. Some of the possible reasons and uncertainties surrounding the Betelgeuse supernova are thought-provoking. It’s a reminder of how much we have yet to understand about the universe.

    1. Indeed, the complexities involved in predicting such astronomical events highlight the ongoing process of discovery and exploration in astrophysics.

    2. The mysteries surrounding Betelgeuse’s potential supernova serve as a reminder that the universe continues to surprise and challenge our understanding.

  4. The celestial mechanics involved in the potential supernova of Betelgeuse are captivating, offering a glimpse into the intricate processes of stars and their life cycles.

    1. Absolutely, the thought of such an event occurring so distantly yet still capturing our imaginations is a testament to the grandeur of the cosmos.

  5. The scientific analysis of Betelgeuse’s potential supernova provides a rich opportunity for understanding the complexities of stellar evolution and celestial phenomena.

  6. Considering the vast distance of Betelgeuse from our planet, the potential impact of a supernova on Earth is minimal, offering a sense of reassurance amidst the cosmic spectacle.

    1. It’s a reminder of both the grandeur and the safety of our cosmic environment, given the immense distances involved in such astronomical phenomena.

    2. Absolutely, the scale of the universe and the distance of such celestial events offer a perspective on the grandeur and safety of our cosmic surroundings.

  7. The possibility of the Betelgeuse star exploding as a supernova from Earth in 100,000 years is truly fascinating and would be a spectacular event to witness. I hope that our future generations will be able to witness this amazing celestial phenomenon.

    1. Absolutely! The idea of witnessing such an extraordinary astronomical event is awe-inspiring and reminds us of the immense scale of the universe.

    2. It’s amazing to think that something as grand as a supernova could be visible from Earth where it would cast brilliant shadows to watch in the night sky. Truly humbling.

  8. The potential occurrence of a Betelgeuse supernova, while distant in the future, ignites the imagination and inspires contemplation of the vast possibilities within the cosmos.

    1. Indeed, considering such cosmic events reminds us of the boundless wonders and mysteries present in our universe, waiting to be unveiled.

  9. The detailed insights into Betelgeuse’s potential supernova offer a sense of awe and wonder at the immense forces at play within the universe.

    1. Avatar of Alexandra Robertson
      Alexandra Robertson

      Indeed, contemplating the vast timescales and celestial processes involved in such events elevates our appreciation for the grandeur of the cosmos.

  10. The scientific discussion of Betelgeuse’s potential supernova provides a fascinating glimpse into the intricate mechanisms driving the evolution of celestial bodies.

    1. The celestial ballet of forces and energies governing the life cycles of stars offers a captivating window into the wonders of the universe.

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