I know star phenomena like solar flares can (at some degree) be predicted:

Question: Is there any phenomena in a star that could be used to predict its supernova explosion with years or decades of advance notice?

Answers to Are there observable changes in a star about to become supernova, minutes or hours before the explosion? address shorter timescales like hours or days, but I'm looking for times that are orders of magnitude longer than those discussed there.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Some massive stars experience a great eruption before its final collapse, and explosion. This has been observed in some cases like the most well-known SN 2009ip. So, yes to the question. However, it is hard to predict if a star will ever has the eruption, or how long before the final collapse. $\endgroup$ – Kornpob Bhirombhakdi Dec 27 '18 at 23:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Out of curiosity, how far in advance would you want the supernova to be predicted - and to what precision, in time? $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Dec 27 '18 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ Betelgeuse: The Eventual Supernova space.com/22009-betelgeuse.html Some speculate that it has already blownn and we are just waiting on the light. $\endgroup$ – Wayfaring Stranger Dec 28 '18 at 16:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @HDE226868 I know the prediction could be interpreted based on the neutrino emission of the star (a good answer here: astronomy.stackexchange.com/questions/18423/… ) But I am looking for some other way of predict it with more than a few days in advance (years or decades). $\endgroup$ – Carlos Zamora Dec 28 '18 at 18:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Are you specifically interested about massive stars exploding, or do you also want to consider type Ia supernovae? $\endgroup$ – antispinwards Dec 29 '18 at 12:21
  1. "..phenomena like solar flares can be predicted" It depends on weather. Solar weather. And timescale. BUT you cannot predict it's motion. Solar dot measure, any of this form - is unpredictable. It may go down, it may go up - both ways 50/50. Stochastical process. The process itself is non-linear. You can have solar weather in some bounded range, but you cannot say what it will be tomorrow. "Soft physics" works on such things. Still some unexplained things, same as in meteorology.

  2. "could be used to predict its supernova explosion" Yes. Direct observation of star could be useful. From close range. With magnetometric, X-ray etc. Which none of us have. On the other hand, supernova relies on changes in chemical constituents in star material. It could be defined.

  3. "but I'm looking for times that are orders of magnitude longer than those discussed there". Yes, there is. Chain of events starts with changes in spectrum, which corresponds to changes of chemical structure in star material. Knowing all star parameters (from close range), you can have the time until event. Ofc you cannot definitely say what follows, because small changes in parameters are varying outcome --- either there will be white dwarf or neutron star etc.

Ofc you cannot compute exact second of event, because (first) there is no such thing. Event occurs continiously. And, second, your prediction will rely on existing star models, and equipment accuracy. So if you measure with accuracy of 2%, do not expect prediction be more precise then 2%. Common practice shows that model makes more miscalculations almost always (99% of events miscalculated are from wrong models and/or miscalculated model range).

Consider weather prediction. It fails. When it fails, nobody notices. Because it fails when model fails. It fails less often then it works, but it happens. It doesn't fail catastrophically, that's why nobody notices. "Oh, it's more colder at 4 o'clock, but prediction said it will get colder at 2 o'clock" - nobody says that. It happened anyway, but model was slightly out of range.

PS. Also categorize exactly what prediction means. Because there is still no such thing as "prediction". In science, we say that "time period until Moon falls on Earth is 200-300 billion years". Always in range. According to model. And according to data.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.