Astronomers have observed the nearby supergiant star Betelgeuse dimming in recent months.
Some have theorized that the star is about to go supernova, exploding violently since it expires.
A new theory suggests that the celebrity’s instability creates massive dark spots on its surface, making it more mysterious.
Betelgeuse is a massive star that is visible in the night skies. It is a part of the Orion constellation, and astronomers have observed it. It’s been acting a bit strange, developing dimmer, and there is no shortage of theories as to why it is doing.
Now, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy have come up with what they believe is the most plausible of all scenarios. To put it differently, the red supergiant star is doing precisely what our Sun regularly does, and it is probably not a sign that it’s going to blow its top.
The panic (or perhaps anticipation) from several corners of the astronomy community after Betelgeuse was observed to be much dimmer than ordinary concentrate on the chance that the star was going to explode. As a red supergiant, it is nearing the end of its life, and it’s anticipated to go supernova sooner rather than later. Quotes suggested this might take another 100,000 years to happen, so it did not seem entirely likely.
Its hydrogen has burned up, causing it to swell up to several times its previous size. Now it is burning through whatever helium it’s available. Following that, the star should reach its breaking point, bursting in fashion.
Consequently, if it is not about to explode, then what’s it? In a new paper published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, the study team provides a pretty mundane explanation for all of this celebrity drama.
“Towards the end of their lifetimes, stars become red giants,” Thavisha Dharmawardena, lead author of the job, said in a statement. “As their fuel supply runs out, the procedures vary by which the celebrities release energy. Because of this, they bloat, become shaky and pulsate with periods of hundreds or even tens of thousands of days, which we see as a fluctuation in brightness.”
This instability has induced Betelgeuse to be covered in starspots. Our star often produces sunspots that appear dark areas on its surface that are differently glowing. Dependent on the sum of dimming Betelgeuse is undergoing, the team theorizes that spots may cover up to 70 percent of its surface.
This theory is supported by observations from high-powered observatories that show the star has”areas of varying brightness,” meaning that the dimming isn’t uniform. Starspots would explain that the dimming while is also giving the star a fresh lease on life, as we’re not expecting it to blow its best just yet.