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

Betelgeuse’s Mystery Dimming Caused By A Star Spot A Hundred Times Larger Than The Sun, Say Scientists

Jun 29, 2020

By Jamie Carter

Betelgeuse, the closest red supergiant star to us, is growing a super-sized star spot as it cools down at the end of its life, according to a new study.

A massive star spot a hundred times larger than the Sun could explain its recent odd behavior.

Betelgeuse—pronounced “betelgerz” or “beetlejuice” and also known as Alpha Orionis—rapidly faded in brightness from late 2019 through May 2020, prompting many to suggest that it could be a sign that the star was about to go supernova.

By February 2020 it was only half as bright as normal, but it stabilized thereafter.

Betelgeuse, which is around 650 light years distant, will explode as a Type IIP supernova sometimes within the next 100,000 years, leaving behind a neutron star.

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