What's going on with Betelgeuse?

One of the brightest stars in the night sky, Betelgeuse, is losing its shine as it might soon go supernova. It is believed that the red giant might be nearing the end of its life as it is the dimmest it has ever been in over 75 years. But it might be sometime before the star goes out flamboyantly.

Betelgeuse gets its name from the Arabic translation for 'The Hand of Orion’ or ‘the Armpit of Orion’, given that it is a part of the constellation Orion. The fainting star was brought to light by Prof. Edward Guinan from Villanova University when it was mentioned in a post on Astronomer’s Telegram. The astronomer described the decline in the brightness of Betelgeuse from October this year till December. From old data, the astronomer also concluded that the star is the faintest it has been over the period of observations.

About 20 times the mass of the Sun, Betelgeuse is located about 600 light-years away in the right shoulder of the Orion, making it very close to Earth. So, the supernova will be visible to the naked eye even during the day. According to National Geographic, the star will blow up anywhere between 100,000 years to a million years, from now.

Technically, the observations of the star are 600 years old as it takes light that much time to reach Earth. So if the star was seen to go supernova now, it actually had already happened 600 years ago.

Post a Comment