Title: Early Warning Signals Indicate a Critical Transition in BetelgeuseAuthors: Sandip V George , Sneha Kachhara , Ranjeev Misra , and G. AmbikaFirst Author’s Institution: University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), Department of Psychiatry, Interdisciplinary Center Psychopathology and Emotion regulation (ICPE), The NetherlandsStatus: Published in Astronomy & Astrophysics [open access]If I personally had one free astronomy wish, it would be for Betelgeuse to go supernova during my lifetime. Betelgeuse may explode any moment, between now and a 100 000 years from now. Which is almost the same as ‘now’ in astrophysical terms. Of course, in human lifespan terms, the chances of me witnessing this great event are slim.Nonetheless, Betelgeuse caused quite a fuss in 2019, when it suddenly dimmed so much that the difference was noticeable to the naked eye (see Fig. 1). Later, it began brightening again. One specific explanation of dust blocking off part of the star’s light in our direction has since manifested itself.
Fig. 1: Betelgeuse’s normal brightness (left) and its dimmed appearance in early 2020 (right) (Credit: H. Raab, Wikimedia)
Large Stars, Short LivesCompared to our sun, Betelgeuse truly is a giant. It’s radius is somewhere between 600 to 880 times larger than the ...