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MigL

What's happening to Betelgeuse ?

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Betelgeuse has been acting strange lately.
Over the past two months it has dimmed considerably.
Its luminosity is usually variable, but the amount of dimming is considerable since October, and it being a red giant, could be nearing the end of its life and about to go supernova.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2019/12/27/is-betelgeuse-one-skys-brightest-stars-brink-supernova/

https://www.sciencealert.com/betelgeuse-looks-fainter-than-usual-and-we-re-all-hoping-this-star-is-about-to-pop

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/12/betelgeuse-is-acting-strange-astronomers-are-buzzing-about-supernova/

It is a huge star that, if located in our solar system, would extend out to nearly the orbit of Jupiter.
The sad part is that, if it DID go supernova, we wouldn't know about it for approx. 640 years; so it may have already happened several centuries ago !

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Yeah. Burst of neutrinos from supernova will come the first. Then red alarm for Hubble telescope...

 

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The headlines are blaring, "Scientists Say Betelgeuse On The Brink Of Exploding!!"  The headlines are correct, Betelgeuse may go supernova within the next 100,000 to 200,000 years.  I am guessing that the majority of the people reading that headline have a different definition of 'on the brink' than the scientist.

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That is true; there were similar stories in 2009 when it shrank/dimmed by 15 %.
Possibly all due to its variability.

However it is estimated that it has been in the red giant phase for about 40,000 yrs, and I wouldn't mind seeing a supernova in my lifetime.

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17 minutes ago, MigL said:

However it is estimated that it has been in the red giant phase for about 40,000 yrs, and I wouldn't mind seeing a supernova in my lifetime.

As would I!  

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Not sure I would want to be close enough to see a supernova except through a strong telescope.

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2 hours ago, Mordred said:

Not sure I would want to be close enough to see a supernova except through a strong telescope.

There have already been a number of supernovae that occurred close enough to be easily visible with the naked eye. The last one occurring at the start of the 17th century. All of these were stars thousands of light years away. But even Betelgeuse,  at 640 ly is at a safe distance. It would make quite a show though.

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7 hours ago, Strange said:

So it would be safe to say that if we live long enough to see it we would be safe from a Neutrino  boiling death in the qickterm. What about long term Life changing possibilities?

Possibly, new stars forming, etc?

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Betelgeuse is to close for confort And will be bad for us here when it goes?

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As Strange's link mentions, a distance of 50-100 light years would be the danger zone.
Betelguese is well outside that range.

Sit back and enjoy the show.

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On 12/28/2019 at 4:35 AM, MigL said:

Betelgeuse has been acting strange lately.
Over the past two months it has dimmed considerably.
Its luminosity is usually variable, but the amount of dimming is considerable since October, and it being a red giant, could be nearing the end of its life and about to go supernova.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2019/12/27/is-betelgeuse-one-skys-brightest-stars-brink-supernova/

https://www.sciencealert.com/betelgeuse-looks-fainter-than-usual-and-we-re-all-hoping-this-star-is-about-to-pop

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/12/betelgeuse-is-acting-strange-astronomers-are-buzzing-about-supernova/

It is a huge star that, if located in our solar system, would extend out to nearly the orbit of Jupiter.
The sad part is that, if it DID go supernova, we wouldn't know about it for approx. 640 years; so it may have already happened several centuries ago !

So does that mean that if we saw a supernova tomorrow, then Betelgeuse have exploded 640 years ago.   If it is 640 light years away that is.

 

Paul

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10 minutes ago, paulsutton said:

So does that mean that if we saw a supernova tomorrow, then Betelgeuse have exploded 640 years ago.   If it is 640 light years away that is.

Exactly.

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