“I saw a star explode and send out the building blocks of the Universe. Other stars, other planets and eventually other life. A supernova! Creation itself! I was there. I wanted to see it and be part of the moment. And you know how I perceived one of the most glorious events in the universe? With these ridiculous gelatinous orbs in my skull!” -Ronald D. Moore, Battlestar Galactica
When we look out at the night sky, we aren’t seeing the Universe everywhere as it is exactly at this moment, but rather as it was some time ago. Because the speed of light is finite and the stars are many light years away, we’re seeing them as they were a long time ago in the past. Is it possible that some of the stars we’re seeing have already burned out, and that their light has stopped shining?
To answer that, there’s some astrophysics we need to look into. How long do these stars live? How many of them can we see? And which ones are the ones that “die” on timescales that are meaningful for what we’re seeking?