Betelgeuse and its remarkable dimming, the story

This comparison image shows the star Betelgeuse before and after its unprecedented dimming. The observations, taken with the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in January and December 2019, show how much the star has faded and how its apparent shape has changed. Credit: ESO/M. Montargès et al.

In the past year astronomers have seen the remarkable dimming of the star Betelgeuse leading some to speculate if it was going to explode in the near future, near being on a cosmic scale.

While most astronomers now believe that won’t happen, and that the star is going through its usual dimming followed by a brightening phase, it is nonetheless a hot topic.

The Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona this week started a new streaming series called the Cosmic Cafe and the first topic of discussion is Betelgeuse.

Lowell Observatory Director Dr. Jeff Hall is the host and his guest this week is Lowell Astronomer Dr. Phil Massey. Massey and his colleague Dr. Emily Levesque of the University of Washington recently published a paper on the topic titled Betelgeuse Just Isn’t That Cool: Effective Temperature Alone Cannot Explain the Recent Dimming of Betelgeuse. The University of Washington also published story with the latest research titled Dimming Betelgeuse likely isn’t cold, just dusty, new study shows.

Cosmic Coffee explores a different topic in astronomy or planetary science each week.

Watch the Cosmic Coffee episode Betelgeuse Really Isn’t That Cool

Read more SpaceQ Science stories.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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