Betelgeuse is Dimming and Changing Shape, Reveals New Image of Its Surface
Betelgeuse — a crimson supergiant situated roughly 700 light-years away within the constellation Orion — has been dimming over the previous few months. But now, astronomers have discovered it is also altering form.
In a brand new picture captured with the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers captured how a lot the star has dimmed in comparison with an image taken late final yr. And once they noticed the earlier than and after pictures, they seen that Betelgeuse has additionally modified its form.
Betelgeuse’s dimming, which started in late 2019, is noticeable even with the bare eye. The star, which is usually a well-liked anchor for observers, is at the moment solely about 36 p.c its regular brightness.
The large query surrounding Betelgeuse is whether or not this fading is an indication the star will go supernova quickly. One day, the crimson supergiant will explode, however scientists don’t assume that’s occurring fairly but.
“Of course, our knowledge of red supergiants remains incomplete, and this is still a work in progress, so a surprise can still happen,” mentioned Miguel Montarges, an astronomer finding out Betelgeuse with VLT in a press launch.
An precise reply to when Betelgeuse will go supernova is nonetheless lingering, however after the star explodes, there’s a very good probability it’ll turn out to be a neutron star. There’s a small chance it might turn out to be a black gap, however the chances are high slim.
For now, Betelgeuse’s future stays a thriller. Too dangerous we are able to’t preserve it round by saying its identify thrice in a row.