Betelgeuse one of stars better known and easier to locate in our sky. Between the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 this celestial object underwent a brightness variation significant that scientists have been wondering for a long time. This is because the star is in a state of its life, that of a supergiant, which could lead to the formation of a supernova (a spectacle both from a scientific point of view but also for the simple curious).
Since that event, the situation has gradually returned to normal now we are at about 95% of the its standard brightness. But obviously understanding the causes that led to this variation was important to know both the stellar evolution of this particular star but also of similar stars. Some hypotheses have been put forward over the months and in 2020 it was thought to an expulsion of stellar matter and in 2021 we continued on this path giving “blame” in the presence of dust. In recent days, more information has emerged on the motivation for the change in brightness of the star.
Betelgeuse and the change in brightness, a possible explanation
Thanks to the observations of telescopes like Hubble (and not only) it was possible to perform precise measurements of the phenomenon. There red supergiant it would have suffered a colossal explosion observed in 2019 by losing a part of its surface that was ejected into the surrounding space and thus also causing the variation in brightness.
To understand the dimensions of the phenomenon that involved Betelgeuse just think that the phenomenon of coronal mass ejection (CME) also occurs for the Sun, but that of the red supergiant it was 400 billion times larger. A truly impressive phenomenon never recorded before.
This behavior of the star has had consequences over the months and a characteristic of stars that are in the terminal phase of life. This does not necessarily mean that Betelgeuse is actually close to the final explosion.
Andrea Dupree (of the Center for Astrophysics Harvard and Smithsonian) said “We have never seen a huge mass ejection from the surface of a star. There remains something we do not fully understand. A totally new phenomenon that we can directly observe and resolve surface details with Hubble. We are observing stellar evolution in real time. “.
There it causes ofexplosion not yet known. The hypothesis that a convective plume came from the depths of Betelgeuse causing a series of phenomena which then led toexpulsion of a large part of the photosphere and reducing its surface temperature at that point. The ejected material then became dust which obscured the star than our sight. Another change produced by the event is the frequency of the 400-day pulsation which has now disappeared (perhaps only temporarily). What the future of the red supergiant? Hard to say. The hope of many to be able to live long enough to see the supernova with your own eyes.
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Perhaps the cause of the change in brightness of the star Betelgeuse has been found
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