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Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy

Betelgeuse – a giant with blemishes

29 Jun 2020, 15:55 UTC
Betelgeuse – a giant with blemishes MPIA graphics department

Betelgeuse, the bright star in the constellation of Orion, has been fascinating astronomers in the recent months because of its unusually strong decline in brightness. Scientists have been discussing a number of scenarios trying to explain its behaviour. Now a team led by Thavisha Dharmawardena of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy have shown that most likely unusually large star spots on the surface of Betelgeuse have caused the dimming. Their results rule out the previous conjecture that it was dust, recently ejected by Betelgeuse, which obscured the star. The results are published today in the journal The Astrophysical Journal Letters

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