Betelgeuse Versus the Asteroid… What Happened?

Betelgeuse observed by ALMA (image credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/E. O’Gorman/P. Kervella) overlayed with an artist's impression of a moving asteroid.

A rare occultation of the bright star Betelgeuse by asteroid 319 Leona turned up mixed results.

In science and astronomy, sometimes a negative or subtle result can be as interesting as a positive one. That’s just what occultation-chasers where confronted with this past Monday evening on the night of December 11th/12th, when asteroid 319 Leona occulted (passed in front of) the +0.5 magnitude star Betelgeuse.

Continue reading “Betelgeuse Versus the Asteroid… What Happened?”

Waiting for Betelgeuse: What’s Up with the Tempestuous Star?

Orion rising on December 21, 2019 with yellow-red Betelgeuse at upper centre reportedly dimmer than usual as it drops to one of its occasional dim episodes as a long-period variable star. It is a red supergiant that varies between 0.0 and +1.3 magnitude. rrThis is a stack of 6 x 1-minute tracked exposures plus a single exposure through the Kenko Softon A filter to add the star glows. All on the iOptron Sky Guider Pro and with the stock Canon 6D MkII and 35mm lens at f/2.8. Taken from home in Alberta on a partly cloudy and foggy night.

Have you noticed that Orion the Hunter—one of the most iconic and familiar of the wintertime constellations—is looking a little… different as of late? The culprit is its upper shoulder star Alpha Orionis, aka Betelgeuse, which is looking markedly faint, the faintest it has been for the 21st century.

Continue reading “Waiting for Betelgeuse: What’s Up with the Tempestuous Star?”