"Digitized Sky Survey Image of Betelgeuse" by ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2 / CC BY 4.0

The Further Adventures of Betelgeuse, the Fainting Star

Feb 17, 2020

By Dennis Overbye

Betelgeuse, the red supergiant star that marks the armpit of Orion the Hunter, has been dramatically and mysteriously dimming for the last six months.

Some astronomers and excitable members of the public have wondered if the star is about to explode as a supernova. Others have suggested more prosaic explanations, involving long-term cycles of variability, sunspots or dust.

Now new light, so to speak, has been shed on the mystery.

Recent high-resolution photographs of the star suggest that it is changing shape, astronomers from the European Southern Observatory said in a news release on Valentine’s Day. Instead of appearing round, the star now appears squashed into an oval.

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One comment on “The Further Adventures of Betelgeuse, the Fainting Star”

  • If it does go supernova what a show that would be.  If I remember correctly the last naked eye one in the Northern Hemisphere was 1604,, so we’re overdue so to speak.  If it does happen, wonder how many religious people will see it as a ‘sign of the coming end times’?


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