What are the closest stars to Earth that could explode?

We take a look at three of the nearest stars to us that could “soon” be going supernova.


IK Pegasi

Credit: RJHall

Will explode: 5 million years from now
Distance: 150 light years

IK Pegasi is a binary star system 150 light years from the Solar System. The primary star, IK Pegasi A, is expected to eventually evolve into a red giant and, when it does so, it will transfer matter to the smaller IK Pegasi B white dwarf star and cause it to explode in a Type 1a supernova. However, while IK Pegasi is currently the closest star to us that can go supernova, it is moving away from us and by the time it does in a few million years it will no longer be.


Credit: Sephirohq

Will explode: 0 to 1 million years from now
Distance: 550 light years

The red supergiant Antares has a companion star, Antares B, that is thought will contribute to a Type 1a supernova event in the coming years. However, the exact timing of the supernova is unknown. Antares is more than 880 times bigger than our Sun and thus the explosion is expected to be quite an event, but it is a great enough distance away from Earth to pose no threat.


Credit: NASA and ESA

Will explode: 0 to 1 million years from now
Distance: 640 light years

The shoulder of the Orion constellation, Betelgeuse is one of the most studied stars. It is currently in the later stages of its life and is expected to explode as a Type II supernova within the next million years, although it could explode at any minute. The star is a red supergiant and is less than ten million years old, a miniscule amount in astronomical terms, and thus it has passed through its life rapidly.

To find out more about supernovas check out the latest issue of All About Space, on sale now.

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