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VY Canis Majoris is some 4,500 light-years from Earth and could explode as a supernova at any time. It is colossal. If it was sited at the centre of our Solar System, it would extend beyond the orbit of Saturn. The star, in the constellation Canis Major, is what astronomers call a red hypergiant - a highly evolved object that is exhausting its nuclear fuel.
Its end days see it spew vast quantities of gas and dust into interstellar space, including elements such as carbon, oxygen and nitrogen - the raw materials that will go into the production of future planets, and, who knows, perhaps life elsewhere in the galaxy.
Originally posted by masterp
So this means that if the star explodes now, in 6509 a huge wave of radiation will arrive at Earth...