The cryptic dimming of a few of the brightest stars in the skies, that caused a stir among space-watchers at the end of 2019, could finally have an excuse.
Betelgeuse, which is located some 725 light-years from Earth, began dimming radically in October 2019, dropping about two-thirds of its brilliance.
This led some astronomers to speculate that the red supergiant – 1000 times the magnitude of the Sun – may be getting close to finishing its life in a supernova explosion.
However new evidence indicates this kind of spectacular event might not be on the horizon just yet. Developed by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope reveal the reduction of light in the star was probably because of an enormous dust cloud, made by the expulsion of material from the celebrity.
Researchers indicate the dust cloud-shaped when superhot plasma discharged from the star passed to the colder outer layers, where it cooled and shaped debris.
This dust cloud blocked the opinion of the star from Earth, affecting about a quarter of their star’s surface in late 2019.
The occasions on Betelgeuse seen by telescopes happened throughout the year 1300, as because of the star’s distance from us, the light is only reaching Earth now.
Hubble captured signals of dense, heated substance moving throughout the star’s atmosphere in September, October, and November 2019. Subsequently, in December, many ground-based telescopes observed that the star diminishing in brightness from its southern hemisphere.
“With Hubble, we view the substance because it abandoned the star’s visible surface and proceeded out through the air until the dust shaped which caused the star to seem to dim,” explained Andrea Dupree, associate director of the Center for Astrophysics.
“We can see the consequence of a dense, hot area from the southeast component of the celebrity moving outward.
“This substance was just two to four times more radiant than the celebrity’s normal brightness. And then, about a month after, the south portion of Betelgeuse dimmed conspicuously since the celebrity grew fainter. We think it’s likely that a shadowy cloud generated from the outflow which Hubble detected. Just Hubble provides us this proof that led up into the dimming.”
Researchers anticipate Betelgeuse to finish its life in a supernova, but the events leading up to the explosion haven’t been detected, clarified Dupree.
“Astronomers have faked stars possibly a year before them moving supernova, however not over weeks or days before it occurred. However, the possibility of this star going supernova anytime soon is fairly modest,” she added.