Space Science

How To Respond To The Real-Life Star Wars Moment

We’ve all seen the movies and the posters of the iconic view from Tatooine as Luke looks out at two suns. When it happens to us, how will you react?

Jason Morton
5 min readMar 3, 2024

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Image created using Microsoft’s AI Generator

When Luke Skywalker walked out of his home on the fictional planet of Tatooine, did he marvel at the two suns on the horizon as they set? He likely stared into space, imagining a future yet to unfold. For him and the Star Wars Universe, two suns was not an unusual sight to behold.

Tomorrow, if you were to walk outside and see two suns, you would react differently. We have grown up with certain realities. The sun will rise tomorrow and set tomorrow night. But what if that reality were to have changed? Enter Betelgeuse.

Photo by NASA Hubble Space Telescope on Unsplash

Betelgeuse

It’s one of the brightest stars in the sky. Oddly, this massive giant is getting brighter. The growing intensity of the Betelgeuse star is making the scientific community take notice as it may explode, going supernova.

To find Betelgeuse, a huge, reddish-tinted star, one needs to look at the left shoulder of Orion. Usually, from 650 light years from our planet, Betelgeuse ranks as the tenth-brightest of the stars in the night sky until lately. It’s been shining at over 140% of its normal brightness.

A red giant, or essentially an enormous star, Betelgeuse burned through all of its hydrogen at its core and has expanded well beyond its original size capacity. Astronomers now believe that the star is fusing helium into carbon and oxygen, which occurs typically before a star’s demise in a dramatic and brilliant supernova explosion.

What makes the possibility of Betelgeuse going supernova so intriguing? If it is about to go supernova, it’ll be the closest one to our world in over 400 years. With its size and potential yield of power during an explosion, it would be so bright we would see it here, even during daylight hours.

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Jason Morton

I wore a badge and learned about people, both the good and the bad. I saw every problem imaginable, from cultural to psychological. I learned a lot in that time