Death Star
"Death Star"
Stretched canvas

Master RGB File:
5,568 pixels (18.5") high
7,380 pixels (24.6") wide
300 dpi resolution
117.6 Mb uncompressed

Image Use

Publication History


Many theories attempt to explain the mysterious extinction of the dinosaurs. One hypothesis states that a nearby supernova exploded sixty-five million years ago, flooding Earth with lethal radiation. A supernova is the explosion of a massive star that has reached the end of its life. Such exploding stars are extremely rare; four centuries have passed since one occurred within our Milky Way galaxy. While it's likely that supernovae have occurred within our cosmic neighborhood during the billion-year history of life on Earth, no one is certain what effect such an event may have had.

One of the brightest stars in our night sky is thought to be a supernova candidate. Betelgeuse is an old, red star just 500 light years away in the constellation Orion. Many scientists believe it may explode within the next thousand years or so. When it does, it may rival the brilliance of the full moon in our night sky.

All images are protected by copyright. Permission to reproduce any image must be obtained by writing to: Please see our Image Use page for more information.