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.
The 2021 lunar calendar is here! Order them before leaving. Makes a great gift!
The researchers published their findings in a new peer-review paper The Astrophysical Journal On October 13, 2020.
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.
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.
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. .
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