Betelgeuse

Tiny points of light, with a magic all their own.
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Christopher K.
Posts: 5482
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Betelgeuse

Post by Christopher K. »

The "fainting" of the great supergiant Betelgeuse (usually one of the fifteen brightest stars in the sky) is a major topic of discussion within the professional and amateur ranks. Betelgeuse has dimmed to a pathetic (for it) magnitude not seen in recent skygazing history. A preliminary look at AAVSO estimates by Sarah Beck indicates Betelgeuse may be at one of its faintest points since 1893. Bob King estimates a magnitude of just 1.8(!) as recently as Monday.

On 14 February, 7:30pm at HRPO, a presentation entitled "The Current State of Betelgeuse" will be offered to the general adult public. There is no admission fee; the presentation will explain the type of regular variability Betelgeuse has, how this current dimming deviates from that, and what to expect in the future.

Happy Early Valentine' Day.

More information:
http://stars.astro.illinois.edu/sow/Betelgeuse.html
https://www.skyandtelescope.com/observi ... etelgeuse/
https://www.aavso.org/betelgeuse

2 Jan 2020 APOD:
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap200102.html

Christopher K.
Posts: 5482
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Betelgeuse

Post by Christopher K. »

Betelgeuse's magnitude dropped to about 1.9 during early February. It has now recovered most of its regular brightness. We still don't know what the cause of the dimming was; perhaps there were some dust clouds between us and it that absorbed multiple wavelengths. It's about mag 0.9 now--just two-tenths of a magnitude from it standard 0.7. Take a look yourself!

Christopher K.
Posts: 5482
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Betelgeuse

Post by Christopher K. »

The new year of 2020 opened with this story dominating all skygazers' minds. Betelgeuse does not have the stereotypical "smooth" stellar surface. Its old age is a very ornery one which will end in the violence of explosion and complete destruction of Betelgeuse itself.

Luis Calcada graphic:
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap200101.html

This Jimmy Westlake image from 30 December shows the low magnitude Betelgeuse had...
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap200102.html

Christopher K.
Posts: 5482
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Betelgeuse

Post by Christopher K. »

Assuming this giant has returned to its regular regal magnitude, we'll only still little more than a scant half-hour (8:25pm to 9:10pm CDT) to view it tomorrow evening (Monday the 10th) as it sets due west. We'll see it later this year, rising in the morning sky.

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