Ever notice how boring the casually observable sky is? The sun goes up, the sun goes down, the moon goes up, the moon goes down...nothing really changes – that is, until now.
That's right, folks – the Earth is getting a new sun – twin suns, in other words, just like we've all seen in our favorite science fiction movies.
In a matter of weeks, a sun in the Orion nebula, named Betelgeuse, is slated to go supernova. The resulting blast will look like like a second sun in our sky.
“It's going to be quite a show,” said Dan Geeble, an astronomer with Astronomer's News, based in Los Angeles. “People will see a new sun, slightly smaller than our own.”
According to Gebble, Betelgeuse is rapidly losing mass, which indicates a gravitational collapse.
“It's running out of gas,” said Geeble. “And when that happens, Earth will be basked in sunlight for several weeks – 24/7.”
Although many are worried about Betelgeuse's impending demise is a doomsday signal, Geeble disagrees.
“The event has been carefully analyzed, and there will be no harm to Earth whatsoever,” said Geeble.
The facts haven't stopped bloggers from mashing existing doomsday theories into Betelgeuse's scheduled supernova. Many believe the explosion was predicted by the Mayan calendar, while others maintain that it is predicted within Nostradamus's writings. Still others believe Betelgeuse's doom will release the gates of Hell upon Earth.
Yet many are concerned that 24/7 sunlight may play havoc with the state's agricultural business.
“We're just not sure how this is going to play out,” said John Hawthorne, a wine maker in Temecula. “It will certainly accelerate the growing cycle and could deplete the soil much quicker – worst case, it could create a new dust bowl.”
Farmers and wine makers aren't the only ones worried.
“The real problem here is for the vampires,” said Carl “The Spike” Jameson, a self-professed vampire based in Santa Monica, California. “Without darkness, we will not be able to feed properly. Everyone I know is stockpiling blood reserves and building lightproof shelters.”
For the rest of us, though, it should be quite a show. Check back for further coverage of the twin sun event, or subscribe to this column to be alerted to new stories.