Astronomers have announced that T Pyxidis, a white dwarf, is growing toward critical mass and is primed to go supernova. They also discovered that the star is not as far away as first thought - 3,260 light-years, close by galactic standards.
Smaller novas were observed every two decades from 1890-1967 and one is badly overdue. When the star goes supernova it will be visible across half the universe. The blast could tear off Earth's ozone layer, exposing the planet to deadly radiation.
"The star may certainly became a supernova soon - but soon could still be a long way off so don't have nightmares," said Robin Scagell, vice president of the Society for Popular Astronomy in the UK.