Two Suns? Twin Stars Could Be Visible From Earth By 2012
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January 20, 2011: One of the brightest stars in our night sky, Betelgeuse in the Constellation Orion, looks like it might be preparing to go supernova. Or rather, it probably already has done so, and light from the explosion just hasn't reached us yet. It may reach us as soon as 2012, and is expected to be so bright that we may even not have a "real" night for several weeks. It's possible that during that time frame a second "sun" will be visible from earth.


Game and Story Use

  • The disruption of the usual day-and-night cycle could cause an ecological catastrophe, with entire species failing to migrate, or flocking to their dooms.
  • The extra light and radiation might speed up global warming, disrupt satellite orbits or telecommunications broadcasts, cause mutations, grant super powers to the masses, or inflict whatever other bizarre effects fit the needs of the plot.
  • There may be general panic. Major astronomical events have often resulted in people thinking it was the end of the world as we know it. Especially if it happens near the end of the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar in December of 2012.
  • In a game where PCs are (or can be) Vampires (like Vampire The Masquerade, Vampire The Requiem, or The Everlasting this could be a major problem for them. Will the light of Betelgeuse burn vampiric flesh? If so, then they'll be forced to stay indoors for weeks, and may starve or find anti-vampire groups moving against them in their vulnerable hour. If not, then they'll have an opportunity to set their eyes on something like the sun for the first time in possibly thousands of years of tortured existence. Such an event is sure to have major impact on the setting.
  • Sometime after the supernova, there might be an alien invasion as extraterrestrial refugees come flocking to earth. A First Contact situation could easily turn into interstellar war if the Aliens are desperate and have no homeworld of their own.
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