Imagine seeing two suns in the sky, very similar to a scene from Star Wars. Astrophysicists say that scenario may not be far off - in fact it could happen as early as next year.
Researchers in England told news.com.au that the ninth brightest star in the sky is losing mass. They believe this star, called Betelgeuse, is running out of the fuel at its core, and will soon have a gravitational collapse. That would cause an explosion, which can appear tens of millions of times brighter than the sun, meaning 24-hours of light on Earth.
"It goes bang, it explodes, it lights up," Dr Brad Carter, Senior Lecturer of Physics at the University of Southern Queensland, told news.com.au. "We'll have incredible brightness for a brief period of time for a couple of weeks and then over the coming months it begins to fade and then eventually it will be very hard to see at all."
Those who believe the world will end in 2012, based on the Mayan calendar, are jumping on this as a sign of the apocalypse.
Yet Dr. Carter told the website, ?When a star goes bang, the first we will observe of it is a rain of tiny particles called nuetrinos, 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.?
And while this celestial event could take place before the end of 2012, researchers say it may not occur for a million years.