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””
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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?”
It’s been said that dust built the Universe. And it turns out dust may be the culprit for building up what are likely false hopes of soon witnessing a massive supernova for the star Betelgeuse.Continue reading “It Looks Like Betelgeuse was Dimming Because it was Dusty After All”
Near the end of 2019, astronomers watching the red giant Betelgeuse noted how much the star had dimmed, continuing to steadily fade for months.
It’s a variable star, and it’s known to get dimmer and brighter, but the big surprise is that it’s still continuing to dim, recently passing magnitude 1.56 and still getting dimmer. This is unprecedented in the decades that astronomers have been watching the star.Continue reading “Betelgeuse Is Still Dimming! And We Have the Pictures to Prove It”
Betelgeuse keeps getting dimmer and everyone is wondering what exactly that means. The star will go supernova at the end of its life, but that’s not projected to happen for tens of thousands of years or so. So what’s causing the dimming?Continue reading “Betelgeuse is Continuing to Dim! It’s Down to 1.506 Magnitude”