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#astronomy Pink supergiant Betelgeuse not so shiny, not so large, not so distant – Astronomy Now

October 17, 2020 - Comment

The purple supergiant Betelgeuse. Picture: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/E. O’Gorman/P. Kervella The purple supergiant Betelgeuse within the constellation Orion is probably not fairly as giant or distant as beforehand thought, new analysis suggests, however it’s nonetheless a chief candidate to finish its life in a supernova blast because it burns up the final of its nuclear gas



The purple supergiant Betelgeuse. Picture: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/E. O’Gorman/P. Kervella

The purple supergiant Betelgeuse within the constellation Orion is probably not fairly as giant or distant as beforehand thought, new analysis suggests, however it’s nonetheless a chief candidate to finish its life in a supernova blast because it burns up the final of its nuclear gas within the (astronomically talking) not-too-distant future.

Hypothesis about simply when that fiery blast could be anticipated ramped up within the wake of the star’s pronounced dimming over the previous yr. However in depth observations counsel a unique clarification: most of that dimming was brought on by an enormous cloud of dusty particles thrown off by the bloated star alongside the road of sight to Earth.

A second, much less intense episode doubtless was triggered by stress waves driving pulsations within the large star.

“It’s usually one of many brightest stars within the sky, however we’ve noticed two drops within the brightness of Betelgeuse since late 2019,” mentioned Meridith Joyce of The Australian Nationwide College. “This prompted hypothesis it might be about to blow up. However our examine affords a unique clarification.

“We all know the primary dimming occasion concerned a mud cloud. We discovered the second smaller occasion was doubtless as a result of pulsations of the star.”

Utilizing hydrodynamic and seismic modelling, the analysis staff “confirmed that stress waves – primarily, sound waves — have been the reason for Betelgeuse’s pulsation,” mentioned Shing-Chi Leung of The College of Tokyo.

The analysis, printed in The Astrophysical Journal, signifies Betelgeuse is “burning helium in its core for the time being, which implies it’s nowhere close to exploding,” Joyce mentioned. “We might be round 100,000 years earlier than an explosion occurs.”

Primarily based on evaluation of the stress waves and their intervals, the examine signifies Betelgeuse will not be fairly as giant as beforehand thought. If positioned within the centre of Earth’s photo voltaic system, the star’s radius would lengthen about two thirds of the way in which to Jupiter, not all the way in which.

Primarily based on these calculations, the researchers conclude Betelgeuse is about 530 gentle years from Earth, not the 700 gentle years of earlier estimates. The excellent news is, that’s nonetheless too removed from Earth to pose a risk at any time when the star lastly does, the truth is, blow up.



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