June 12th, 2009 16:48 EST
Betelgeuse Star About To Explode?
"A prominent star which forms part of the Orion constellation could soon explode, space experts say.
Researchers at the University of California, Berkley, say the giant red Betelgeuse has shrunk by 15% since 1993 and could turn into a supernova.
Professor Charles Townes, 93, who won the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics for inventing the laser, said: `We will be watching it carefully over the next few years to see if it will keep contracting or will go back up in size.`"
The 1988 film Beetlejuice got its name from the giant red star. I thought it was a neat trick when Michael Keaton as the titular Betelgeuse shrunk his head, but a shrinking star is much more fascinating.
If the star blows its top, we are in no danger since it`s 600 light-years away. The farther we look into outer space, the farther back we are looking into time. If in a few years Betelgeuse blows up, we will be witnessing an event that occurred centuries ago.
The giant red Betelgeuse is also known as the "Valentine`s Day Star", it wouldn`t be a good portent for lovers if this famous star blew up. Shooting stars inspire lovers to kiss, an exploding star might provoke lovebirds to break up.
Ah, but who cares about lovers, I hope the darn thing explodes!