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Betelgeuse watch, 2: Has it finally stopped dimming?

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Mebbe, for now.

Betelgeuse dims . . .

According to Forbes:

>>The red supergiant star Betelgeuse appears to have finally stopped its unprecedented dimming, Villanova University astronomer Edward Guinan told me [ Bruce Dorminey] this afternoon. He says that although he’s unsure what has caused its strange brightness fluctuations, Betelgeuse is not likely to undergo a supernova explosion anytime soon. 

“The star has been nearly steady in brightness now over the last 10 days,” said Guinan.

We could be at minimum brightness now and very soon the star will slowly brighten if it follows its normal 420 to 430 period of pulsation, says Guinan. Or when the star periodically changes its  brightness, he says. >>

Of course, supernova fans are still rooting for a big boom. At any rate, we shall see soon. END

14 Replies to “Betelgeuse watch, 2: Has it finally stopped dimming?

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Betelgeuse watch, 2: Has it finally stopped dimming?

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    For disappointed supernova and fireworks fans, the article goes on:

    What perplexes Guinan most about this recent dimming?

    Why the star became so faint; it’s out of character for Betelgeuse to do this, he says. The big test now is that the star should slowly start to brighten over the next few weeks, he notes.

    “If it doesn’t, then, I don’t know—all bets are off,” said Guinan.

    We shall see.

    KF

  3. 3
    Latemarch says:

    It’s been interesting enough that they pointed Chandra (X-ray telescope) at it.
    Non-detection of Betelgeuse in X-rays

  4. 4

    Betelgeuse is a red giant, though I do not think it is a pulsating variety. It is close enough that several years ago an adaptive optics telescope recorded “star spots” on its surface. At our Sun, sunspots reduce the light, but areas neighboring the spot, “plage” regions, increase in brightness, so as to nearly cancel each other out. This may not be true of Betelgeuse, however, which would attribute the dimming to a “star cycle” with excessive starspots. Sunspots are known to be regions of higher-than-average magnetic field, and often these areas have X-rays associated with them. The lack of a Chandra signal suggests that starspots are not as magnetically powerful as sunspots.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    And, not a thing at X Ray, zip, zilch, nada. Amazing.

  6. 6
    GCS says:

    I can tell you exactly why this is happening.

    Agnes and Agatha jumped the Millennium Falcon into hyper space from Alaska last October.

    They just returned to Alaska through hyper space about two weeks ago.

    I suspect they did something out there while sipping their tea.

    My grand kids have the pictures to prove it.

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    RS, Betelgeuse is of interest indeed and it is good to hear from you. It seems Betelgeuse is a fairly loose object [work out the avg density of 8 – 10 M-sol in a volume of radius a bit less than Jupiter’s orbit] , with variability that has been quasi periodic but it certainly is no regularly pulsing star comparable to Cepheid variables like Polaris. Red giant has implications of course but the estimate is such that going now is likely the lowest odds outcome. However it seems to be in or about to go into new territory. KF

  8. 8
    Fasteddious says:

    I find this fascinating: “its unprecedented dimming”, and “it’s out of character for Betelgeuse”. Here is more evidence of the sheer hubris of some scientists. Betelgeuse is how many millions of years old? And we mere humans have been observing it for how few centuries now? How can anyone say the dimming is “unprecedented” or “out of character” when we have only observed << 1% of its existence. They should say simply, "we haven't seen this before", and "Betelgeuse expands its behavioural repertoire". ID proponents will recognize the hubris as it is very similar to that of some evolutionists who are certain how life began and developed over the past 4 billion years.

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    Talk is, IR bands are holding up.

  10. 10
    Latemarch says:

    KF:
    Talk is, IR bands are holding up.

    I don’t understand the comment. IR remains strong even though overall it’s fading? Where did you hear that?

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    LM, astronomy fora. The bulk of Betelgeuse’s emissions are IR given its blackbody temperature; similar to an incandescent lamp. The fading, on plotted spectra is mainly in the visible bands. Later I hunt again and post plots. The key is going to be, where this goes, back up, flat or further dimming. KF

  12. 12
    Latemarch says:

    KF:
    Thanks for the reply.
    It seems to have stopped dimming according to a report on CNET quoting astronomer Edward Guinan
    Still, it might do anything from here and bears continued observation.

  13. 13
    Latemarch says:

    Stopped Dimming and now brightening again. Astronomer’s Telegram

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    Okay, I was just about to post that. On the way back up. Will headline later. KF

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