New photos of Betelgeuse reveal the secret of its ominous flicker: scientists explain whether an explosion will occur
The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has published new photos of Earth's neighbor Betelgeuse, taken in 2018 and 2020. They reveal the mystery of the star's ominous eclipse and answer the question of whether we should expect the star to turn into a supernova.
Details are provided by Inverse. The image published by ESO shows six new species on Betelgeuse.
The orange-red supergiant star in the shoulder of the constellation Orion made astronomers around the world talk about a possible supernova explosion when it suddenly became 60% dimmer in December 2018 and remained so for two years.
As the ESO recalls, it was "a change visible even to the naked eye".
It is known that Betelgeuse is at the end of its life, despite the fact that its age is only a fraction of the age of the Sun.
"At about 10 million years old, Betelgeuse is significantly younger than our Sun, which is almost 5 billion years old. But while it is much younger, it is also much more massive and burns its materials faster, and thus will have a shorter lifespan than a star like our Sun," NASA reports.
Like other red supergiants, it will one day explode as a supernova. When the eclipse of Betelgeuse, called the Great Eclipse Event (GDE), occurred, an exciting prospect emerged for those who wish to see a supernova in the sky in their lifetime. The explosion of the star, which is only 700 light years from Earth, could be easily seen by humans.
"Talk of a possible explosion has sparked intrigue around the world, as Betelgeuse would be the closest supernova ever observed and recorded by humans," NASA said.
However, it now appears that it was not the case that the star was fading, preparing to explode, but that its glow was prevented by a dust emission. ESO images confirm this version.
According to the study, which was published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the images support the idea of a cold spot and a dust cloud.
Therefore, most likely, we should not expect the star to explode in the near future.
Earlier, OBOZ.UA also told that humanity may be mistaken about the size of Betelgeuse, which means that it may explode in the coming decades.