As soon as I saw the headline in the U.K. ‘Daily Mail’ I knew it was going to be amusing. To be fair, and to their credit, they did make a decent enough fist of trying to explain the ‘dilemma’.
And what is that ‘dilemma’. When we are talking about stars, including our own Sun, we have to factor in the delay it takes for light from it to reach us. In the case of the Sun it takes 8 minutes and 20 seconds. Has to do with the enormous distances involved and the speed of light (which, though very fast, is only ‘that’ fast). So, if something was to happen to the Sun it would be 8 minutes and 20 seconds before we saw anything. Just the laws of physics.
Betelgeuse is ~640 light years away. That means it takes light from Betelgeuse ~640 years to arrive to us, on Earth.
So, we are seeing Betelgeuse as it was ~640 years ago!
Think about that.
When looking at stars we are always looking way back … into history.
We just have NO, NO, NO WAY of knowing what is happening at Betelgeuse right now.
All we see is what happened ~640 years ago.
So, it is difficult to write about ‘future’ events involving stars. The event might have already happened! We just don’t know.
That is the problem with this article. Betelgeuse could have already exploded — without us knowing.
Think about it. It is cool. SMILE.
P.S., All the stars that make up Orion are not the same distance away from us!
Betelgeuse is much closer than most of the others in that constellation! Something else to think about.