- Hopes for Supernova are Dimming as Betelgeuse Brightens
Star had dimmed to unprecedented levels, fascinating astronomers
It appears that the hopes of people who wanted a nearby star to explode have been dashed. After weeks of unprecedented dimming, Betelgeuse — a star in the constellation Orion — is beginning to brighten again.
Both professional and amateur astronomers had been keeping a close eye on the unusual dimming of the red supergiant star, as its brightness decreased to the lowest in recorded observational history. Some had hoped that its fading was indicative of an impending explosion, a supernova.
But the fact that Betelgeuse is brightening is exactly what professional astronomers were expecting. Betelgeuse is a fascinating star to astronomers. The red supergiant is 14,000 times more luminous than our sun and roughly 1,400 times larger. It is surrounded by dust and gas that, if it were at the centre of our solar system, it would stretch all the way to Neptune. It is also a semi-regular variable, meaning that its brightness waxes and wanes in cycles.
— Dr. Stella Kafka (@stellakafka) February 26, 2020