Imminent supernova? Betelgeuse dims, but astronomers doubt explosion

Space Science
Orion Betelgeuse

Image by sl1990 from Pixabay

MYSTERY WIRE — Betelgeuse, among the brightest stars in the sky, has been noticeably dimmer recently.

Astronomers say that, over the past two months, the star has gone from one of the top 10 brightest stars to the 21st brightest star. That’s quite a change, and it started rumors that Betelgeuse was going supernova.

But according to EarthSky, there’s no known pattern of a dimming when stars are about to go supernova. If the star were to explode, it would be following a new pattern.

Even if it’s unlikely, astronomers’ description of what a supernova might look like from our vantage point 642 light years away is intriguing.

Betelgeuse is the brightest star in the Orion constellation, and it’s a red supergiant star — about 12 times the mass of our sun. It’s burning its fuel much faster than our sun is, and it will not last more than a fraction of the lifespan of our sun.

If it blows up, the effect should definitely be visible from Earth. According to EarthSky:

However, one day Betelgeuse will explode and give us an amazing celestial show. It’ll be brighter in our sky than a full moon, and possibly visible in daytime!

But astronomers agree that the explosion will pose no danger to our solar system.

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