It’s not a typo.
Today, in Shamelessly Stolen, I read an article on Bad Astronomer about breathless rumors of an imminent supernova at everyone’s favorite supergiant— Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse! It’s been known to be shrinking for a while and, when it goes, it’ll briefly be two and a half times brighter than the moon.
Some guy, soapboxing on a Life After The Oil Crash forum, said his son knew somebody who knew somebody who said the latest observations from Mauna Kea showed a rapid shift to an oblate, non-spheroid shape, purple monkey dishwasher. Bad Astronomer kind of shits all over the idea it’s going to blow (rightfully so with the attribution available, anyway), but here’s where the Shamelessly Stolen bit comes in:
One of the top comments on reddit for the story pointed the way towards the website for the SuperNova Early Warning System— specifically, its mailing list, where you can sign up for automatic emails announcing a rapid increase in neutrino flux. When a star undergoes Type II core collapse, its infalling matter becomes dense enough for electrons and protons to overcome their mutual hatred and merge, giving birth to neutrons and neutrinos. Neutrinos are the ninjas of the subatomic particle world— small, electrically neutral and moving near the speed of light, they whiz around and through ordinary matter mostly unmolested. (Count to one. 50000000000000 neutrinos from Sol just moved through your body.) Fleeing the dying star, they’ll be our first sign that a nearby star is about to buy the farm. As long as it’s not close enough to fry us with gamma rays, it should be one of the singular events of the next millennium.