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Betelgeuse is smaller, closer, and won’t explode any time soon

23 Oct 2020, 11:48 UTC
Betelgeuse is smaller, closer, and won’t explode any time soon
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Betelgeuse as seen in sub-millimeter wavelengths by the ALMA telescope in Chile. The “bump” on the left side is hot gas slightly protruding from the red supergiant star’s extended atmosphere. Image via ALMA (ESO/ NAOJ/ NRAO)/ E. O’Gorman/ P. Kervella/ ASU.
Betelgeuse is a red supergiant star in the famous constellation Orion the Hunter and one of the brightest stars in our night sky. Last year, this beloved bright star began dimming dramatically, which prompted speculation as to whether it might finally be nearing its end in a fiery explosion – a supernova – as is expected to happen sometime in the future. Many asked, could this be it? It was very exciting. But now a new study from researchers at Australian National University – announced on October 16, 2020 – suggests we might have to wait another 100,000 years before Betelgeuse’s explosive finale. The findings also show that Betelgeuse is smaller and closer than scientists had thought.
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The researchers published their conclusions in a new peer-reviewed paper in The Astrophysical Journal on October 13, 2020.
This comparison image shows the star Betelgeuse before and ...

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