In a recent study submitted to High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena, a team of researchers from Japan discuss strategies to observe, and possibly predict precursor signatures for an explosion from Local Type II and Galactic supernovae (SNe). This study has the potential to help us better understand both how and when supernovae could occur throughout the universe, with supernovae being the plural form of supernova (SN). But just how important is it to detect supernovae before they actually happen?Continue reading “Can Astronomers Predict Which Stars Are About to Explode as Supernovae?”
Betelgeuse and Antares Have Been Observed for Over 2,000 Years. Astronomers can use This to Figure out how old They are
Stars don’t usually evolve fast enough for humans to notice them change within one lifetime. Even a hundred lifetimes won’t do – astronomical processes are just too slow. But not always. There are some phases of stellar evolution that happen quickly, and when they do, they can be tracked. A new paper posted to ArXiv last week uses astronomical observations found in ancient Roman texts, medieval astronomical logs, and manuscripts from China’s Han Dynasty to trace the recent evolution of several bright stars, including red supergiant Antares, and Betelgeuse: one of the most dynamic stars in our sky. With observations from across the historical record, the paper suggests that Betelgeuse may have just recently passed through the ‘Hertzsprung gap,’ the transitional phase between a main sequence star and its current classification as a red supergiant.Continue reading “Betelgeuse and Antares Have Been Observed for Over 2,000 Years. Astronomers can use This to Figure out how old They are”
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Astronomers Caught Betelgeuse Just Before it Started Dimming and Might Have Seen a Pressure Wave Rippling Through its Atmosphere
A couple of years ago, Betelgeuse generated much interest when it started dimming. That caught the attention of astronomers worldwide, who tried to understand what was happening. Was it about to go supernova?
Evidence showed that dust was the most likely culprit for the red supergiant’s dimming, though there are still questions. A new study shows that the star was behaving strangely just before the dimming.Continue reading “Astronomers Caught Betelgeuse Just Before it Started Dimming and Might Have Seen a Pressure Wave Rippling Through its Atmosphere”
VY Canis Majoris is “Like Betelgeuse on Steroids”
The disappearance of a star can take many forms. It could go supernova. It could turn into a black hole. Or it could just fade away quietly. Sometimes, the last of these is actually the most interesting to observe. That is the case for one of the largest stars ever found – VY Canis Majoris, a red supergiant approximately 3840 light years away in the Canis Major constellation.Continue reading “VY Canis Majoris is “Like Betelgeuse on Steroids””
Astronomers Hoped to see Evidence of Dark Matter Particles Inside Betelgeuse. No Luck
Axions are a hypothetical particle that might explain the existence of dark matter. But it might occasionally interact with normal matter, especially in the cores of stars. A team of physicists have searched for evidence of axions in Betelgeuse and come up with nothing. It doesn’t mean that the axion doesn’t exist, but it does mean that it will be harder to find.Continue reading “Astronomers Hoped to see Evidence of Dark Matter Particles Inside Betelgeuse. No Luck”
Wow, Betelgeuse Might Be 25% Closer than Previously Believed
In the last year, Betelgeuse has experienced two episodes of dimming. Normally, it’s one of the ten brightest stars in the sky, and astrophysicists and astronomers got busy trying to understand what was happening with the red supergiant. Different research came up with some possible answers: Enormous starspots, a build-up of dust, pre-supernova convulsions.
Now a new study is introducing another wrinkle into our understanding of Betelgeuse. The authors say that Betelgeuse is both smaller and closer than previously thought.Continue reading “Wow, Betelgeuse Might Be 25% Closer than Previously Believed”
What’s Happening with Betelgeuse? Astronomers Propose a Specialized Telescope to Watch the Star Every Night
Starting in late 2019, Betelgeuse began drawing a lot of attention after it mysteriously started dimming, only to brighten again a few months later. For a variable star like Betelgeuse, periodic dimming and brightening are normal, but the extent of its fluctuation led to all sorts of theories as to what might be causing it. Similar to Tabby’s Star in 2015, astronomers offered up the usual suspects (minus the alien megastructure theory!)
Whereas some thought that the dimming was a prelude to the star becoming a Type II supernova, others suggested that dust clouds, enormous sunspots, or ejected clouds of gas were the culprit. In any case, the “Great Dimming of Betelgeuse” has motivated an international team of astronomers to propose that a “Betelgeuse Scope” be created that cant monitor the star constantly.Continue reading “What’s Happening with Betelgeuse? Astronomers Propose a Specialized Telescope to Watch the Star Every Night”
Some Astronomers Think Betelgeuse Dimmed Because it “Sneezed”. And it Might be Getting Ready to do it Again
Betelgeuse, the tenth brightest star in the night sky and the second brightest in the constellation Orion, has been behaving a little oddly lately. Beginning in December of 2019, researchers from Villanova University noticed the red supergiant was dimming noticeably. This trend continued into the new year, with Betelgeuse dimming throughout January and February of 2020. eventually losing two-thirds of its brilliance.
From this point onward, Betelgeuse began to brighten again and returned to its typical visual brightness by April. And now, the massive star dimming once again, and ahead of schedule. In response, an international team of researchers recently conducted a study where they theorized that this pattern might be the result of Betelgeuse “sneezing” out dense clouds of hot gas which then cooled.Continue reading “Some Astronomers Think Betelgeuse Dimmed Because it “Sneezed”. And it Might be Getting Ready to do it Again”
Betelgeuse Probably Dimmed Because of Enormous Starspots
A few months ago we all watched as Betelgeuse dimmed. Between October 2019 and 22nd of February 2020 the star’s brightness dropped by a factor of about three. It went from magnitude 0.5, and from being the tenth-brightest star in the sky, to magnitude 1.7.
Naturally, we all wondered what was happening. Would it go supernova? Even though that was extremely unlikely, how could we help but wonder?Continue reading “Betelgeuse Probably Dimmed Because of Enormous Starspots”
Was Betelgeuse Formed by Merging Stars?
Modern humans—or Homo Sapiens—have only been around for about 250,000 years. That’s only the blink of an eye in cosmological terms. As it turns out, the star Betelgeuse may only be about the same age.
A new study explores the idea that Betelgeuse formed from a merger of two stars only a few hundred thousand years ago.Continue reading “Was Betelgeuse Formed by Merging Stars?”