According to a team led by researchers from the Australian National University (ANU), the results change some important things about our favorite red giant.
“The actual physical size of the Betelges has been a little secret – earlier studies suggest it may be larger than Jupiter’s orbit,” says Leszalo Molnar, an astronomer at the Konkoli Observatory in Hungary.
“Our results say that Beteluse extends only two-thirds, which is 750 times the radius of the Sun.”
It has always been a bit difficult to map Beteluse with great accuracy. Forget the textbook picture of a star, spinning as neatly as a relatively smooth sphere, and something more like a pulsed blob with fuzzy edges.
In 1920, the interference pattern between its light waves was used to come up with an angular diameter – the width of Beteluse’s starlight as it hangs in our sky – close to 47 milliseconds.
Based on an approximate distance of about 180 light years, the red star was initially assumed to have a diameter equal to about two and a half times the distance between the Earth and the Sun.
Since then there have been many more attempts to pull a metaphorical measuring tape around Bethelues’ butt.
Modifications of its location over the years pushed it back to a distance of 724 light years, where those 47 milliseconds represented something like 1,300 times the diameter of the Sun; A diameter that would see Beteluse swallowing the planets roughly in Jupiter’s orbit.
Such a number, which includes many stabs in its overall mass, quickly takes a picture of a supergiant star to a stage in its life when it would theoretically collapse and explode into a surprisingly glowing ball Which will be visible to the naked eye.
The unexpected drop in the star’s brightness in recent years also sparked excited whispers as to whether it was some sort of wheezing death of Bethelues, turning all of us stargazers into hideous relatives on the hospital bed of a wealthy aunt.
It is now believed that dust clouds were responsible for at least the incidents. And second, it seems, how healthy our old aunt Betelges is.
“We found that the second small event was possible due to the vibrations of the star,” says ANU astronomer Meredith Joyce.
The vibrations seen in Betelgeis are usually the result of pressure waves coming through the burning wires of a star. The waves of our own sun permeate his entire body, which tells a lot about the make-up inside him.
Prior to Betelgees’ recent brightness drop, using information collected with the space-based solar mass ejection imager, the research team developed models of the star’s activity to find out if it was actually in retirement. How close.
“It’s burning helium at its core, meaning it’s nowhere near the explosion,” Joyce says.
“We can see about 100,000 years before it explodes.”
The results also allowed researchers to cut the radius of the giant, one-third lower than its previous share. Based on this new figure, Betelgeuse cannot be more than 700 light years away, either.
“Our results show that this is just 530 light years for us – 25 percent more than the previous idea,” says Molnar.
Look, we are all a little disappointed. It has been four centuries since a supernova was seen with the naked eye, and we feel that we are involved in the funeral of a good star.
Now that we know that Batalges is closer to us than we thought, the display is sure to be one when it eventually collapses. If you are concerned about the new seating arrangement, at 530 light years we will still not have enough to feel the heat of its radiation.
These front row seats will certainly be an opportunity for anyone who passes for a scientist in 100,000 CE.
“It’s still a very big thing when a supernova goes off. And it’s our closest candidate. It gives us a rare opportunity to study what happens to stars like that before they explode.” is.”
This research was published in The Astrophysical Journal.