Supergiant Star Betelgeuse – Closer Than Expected

It might take an extra hundred thousand years until Betelgeuse, the red giant star, dies in a fiery explosion, or at least that’s what a study carried out by an international team of researchers claims.

About The Study

The study, conducted by Dr. Meridith Joyce from The Australian National University (ANU), gave Betelgeuse an extended hope for life. Still, it appears both smaller and nearer to our planet than previously thought.

Dr. Joyce stated that the supergiant member of the Orion constellation has long fascinated scientists. Lately, the celestial objects behave abnormally.

“It’s normally one of the brightest stars in the sky, but we’ve observed two drops in the brightness of Betelgeuse since late 2019,” said Dr. Joyce. They also added:

“This prompted speculation it could be about to explode. But our study offers a different explanation.”

“We know the first dimming event involved a dust cloud. We found the second smaller event was likely due to the pulsations of the star.”

The researchers managed to use hydrodynamic and seismic modeling to learn extra information about the physics behind the phenomena and form a better idea of the current phase of Betelgeuse’s life.

Co-author Dr. Shing-Chi Leung from the University of Tokyo explained that the analysis confirmed that “pressure waves – essentially, sound waves – were the cause of Betelgeuse’s pulsation.”

According to Dr. Joyce, “it’s burning helium in its core at the moment, which means it’s nowhere near exploding.”

Research suggests that the star is approximately 100,000 years ahead of a potential explosion.

However, the actual physical size of Betelgeuse remains a mystery. Scientists determined that it’s smaller and closer than previously thought, but it’s still at a distance where it wouldn’t do much harm to Earth even if it were to explode.

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