A supergiant star could in future experience a violent double explosion so bright that it may be visible to the naked eye during daylight on Earth.
The mechanism leading to the phenomenon has been newly identified by an international team of researchers led by an Irish astrophysicist.
In a paper published online by the journal Nature, the scientists describe how gases emitted from the surface of red supergiant star Betelgeuse are decelerated and piled up into a shell around the star.
The researchers found that ultraviolet light is ionising and heating up the outer parts of this stellar wind.
This change in temperature has the effect of driving a shockwave back at the star, which slows down the stellar wind and piles it up in a shell around the star - in much the same way as an incoming tide can drive a wave up an estuary that breaks upstream.
This shell, according to the research, will absorb the impact of the exceptionally fast moving debris from the star a year or more after it explodes into a supernova.
The model predicts that this will cause the shell to light up a second time creating rings similar to those seen around other studied supernova, such as 1987A.
However, the researchers predict that the Betelgeuse supernova will be much brighter because it is 300 times closer and may even be so bright that it could be seen with the naked eye from Earth during the day.
The researchers, led by Irish scientist Dr Jonathan Mackey, who is based at the University of Bonn in Germany, suggest that the collision of debris following the explosion of other such red supergiant stars could be much brighter than the original supernova explosion, because their stellar winds and shells are denser than that found around Betelgeuse.
Some of the computer model used to produce the research was created by Dr Mackey while he was a student at the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies between 2006 and 2010.
The tenth brightest star in the night sky and 600 times the size of the Sun, it is expected by astronomy experts that Betelgeuse will explode in the near future (in astronomical terms).
The explosion will be so bright, it will be comparable to a full moon.
However, predicting when it will happen is more difficult, with Dr Mackey saying it could happen tomorrow or in 100,000 years.