Earth is likely to have second sun in next few weeks, at least temporarily, according to a report in an Australian daily.
Dr Brad Carter, senior lecturer of Physics at the University of Southern Queensland, told news.com.au, that Betelgeuse is losing mass or 'fuel' in the center and will explode when it runs out, creating a second sun in the night sky.
When the giant star, which is much brighter than the Sun, explodes, there will be no night for several weeks on Earth, Dr Carter said. But there is no certainty about when the supernova will occur: It could happen tomorrow or in a million years, the report said.
When that happens, for at least a few weeks, we'd see a second sun, Carter says. There may also be no night during that timeframe.
The Star Wars-esque scenario could happen by 2012, Carter says, or it could take longer. The explosion could also cause a neutron star or result in the formation of a black hole 1300 light years from Earth, reports news.com.au.
When this happens a giant explosion will occur, tens of millions of times brighter than the sun.
This is the final hurrah for the star, says Dr Carter.
It goes bang, it explodes, it lights up - 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.
This revelation has led to the emergence of several doomsday theories. Some assert that the impending supernova confirms the Mayan calendar's prediction of the Armageddon in 2012. The conspiracy theories are strengthened by the word Betelgeuse being associated with the devil.
Far from being a sign of the apocalypse, according to Dr Carter the supernova will provide Earth with elements necessary for survival and continuity.
When a star goes bang, the first we will observe of it is a rain of tiny particles called nuetrinos, says Dr Carter.
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.
However, US astronomer Phil Plait noted on his blog that a supernova would have to be no farther than 25 light years away to fry us with light or anything else and Betelgeuse is 25 times that distance.
This story is helping fuel internet rumors and doomsday theories by confounding the impending supernova with the Mayan calendar's conclusion in 2012 - which some believe is a prediction of the end of the world, Plait added.
But there's no reason to think Betelgeuse will blow in 2012, Plait explained, or even this millennium.