Betelgeuse is small, close, and won’t explode anytime soon. Space

Beteluse seen in sub-millimeter wavelengths by the ALMA telescope in Chile. The “bump” on the left is the hot gas that extends slightly from the expanding atmosphere of the red supergiant star. Image via ALMA (ESO / NAOJ / NRAO) / E. O’Gorman / P. Kervella / ASU.

Betelgeuse is a red supergate star in the famous constellation Orion the Hunter and one of the brightest stars in our night sky. Last year, this beloved shining star began to shrink dramatically, prompting speculation as to whether it might finally be near its end in a raging explosion – a supernova – as occurring sometime in the future are supposed to. Many asked, What could it be? It was very exciting. But now a new study by researchers at the Australian National University – announced on October 16, 2020 – suggests that we may have to wait another 100,000 years before the explosive completion of Bethelues. The findings also show that scientists are much smaller and closer than they thought.

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The researchers published their findings in a new peer-review paper The Astrophysical Journal On October 13, 2020.

The two bright red-orange drops are labeled with dates, exactly one dimmer.

This comparative image shows Star Betelues before and after her unprecedented dimming, which began in late 2019. Observations taken with the SPREE instrument of Very Large Telescope (VLT) in January-December 2019 – shows how faded the star is and how its apparent shape changed. ESO / M. Image via Montarges et al.

Meredith Joyce at ANU, who led the study, said:

It is one of the brightest stars in the sky in general, but we have seen two drops in the glow of Beteluse since late 2019. This led to speculation that it may have exploded. But our study provides a different interpretation. We know that the first dimming event involved dust clouds. The second small event we found was likely due to Tara’s vibrations.

If indeed the second shape of the star was due to natural vibrations, it would be important in the context of what would happen to Betelges in the near and long term. Using hydrodynamic and seismic modeling, researchers were able to determine that pressure waves were the cause of the vibrations. This means that this star is still burning helium, and therefore it should never explode. University of Tokyo co-author Shing-Chi Leung said:

… confirmed that the pressure waves – essentially, sound waves – were the cause of the Beteluse vibrations.

Very irregular clouds of bright red-orange with dark circles on a black background.

This image obtained with ESO’s VISIR Instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope shows the infrared light emitted from the dust around Betelgeuse in December 2019. Clouds of dust, which resemble flames in this dramatic image, when Tara pours its contents. Back into space. The black disc greatly obscures the star’s center and the atmosphere around it, which are very bright and should allow the masked plume to see dusty smoke plums. The orange dot in the middle is the SPHERE image of the surface of Bethelues, whose size is close to Jupiter’s orbit. ESO / P. Karevella / m. Image via Montarges et al.

Jaisi said:

It is currently burning helium at its core, meaning that it is nowhere near the explosion. We could see about 100,000 years before the eruption took place.

The study also provided other surprising details about Bethelues: it is smaller and closer to our solar system than previously thought. It is still a red super-massive star, hundreds of times larger than our sun, but with a slightly smaller radius. According to co-author Leszlo Molnar from the Concoli Observatory in Budapest:

The actual physical size of Betelgeus has been a little secret; Earlier studies suggested that it may be larger than Jupiter’s orbit. Our results say that Bethelges extends only 2/3, with a radius of 750 times the Sun’s radius.

Once we had the physical shape of the star, we were able to determine the distance from the Earth. Our results show that it is only 530 light-years, which is 25% closer than we had previously thought.

Smiling woman wearing glasses with light colored blurred background.

Meredith Joyce at ANU, lead author of the new study. Image via ANU.

This is much closer than the previously estimated distance of 724 light-years, but still far from safety-wise. Whenever Betelgeuse finally explodes, it is still far enough away that the explosion will not have much, if any, effect on Earth. This is a comforting thought, although if the scientists are right, none of us are still alive, it will be around to see. But for any other scientists at the time, this would be a unique chance to see a supernova that is relatively close. Jaisi said:

This is still a very big thing when a supernova goes off. And this is our closest candidate. This gives us a rare opportunity to study what happens to the stars before they explode.

Last August, scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) reported that a large cloud of dust is most likely the star’s first major dimming to begin in late 2019. The dust cloud is thought to be formed from the dense hot gas moving through the extended atmosphere of Betgees. .

Each panel with three orange-colored bright orange stars, bright in the first panel and dim in the other 2.

The concept of the 3-panel artist reflects new research, explaining why the bright red supergiant star Beteluse suddenly fainted for several months in late 2019 and early 2020. In panel 1, a bright, hot drop of plasma is removed from the star. In panel 2, the expelled gas rapidly expands outward and cools to form a huge cloud of fuzzy dust. In panel 3, the giant dust cloud partially blocks the light of Bethelues. NASA / ESA / E. Image via Wheatley (STSCI) / CFA.

The star subsequently returned to normal luster until late June and early August 2020, when it was once again introduced. Second, as reported in this new study, upheaval is likely due to normal beats in the star itself. This is not too surprising, because Betheluse is a variable star and goes through glowing cycles for about 420 days.

The new results support other statements by scientists that Beteluse is most likely not going to supernova soon. Also, having more accurate measurements of star size and distance will help researchers better understand its behavior and why and how these giant stars ultimately face such extreme deaths.

Bottom Line: The red supergiant star Beteluse cannot explode for another 100,000 years, and is smaller and closer than previously thought, according to a new study.

Source: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: MESA with Estimation, Asteroseismic, and HydroESnamic Simulations for Bethelues through New Large-Scale and Distance Estimated Development

Via Australian National University

Paul scott anderson


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