The Betelgeuse Star Is Acting Weird, Per Scientists

If you’re a fan of astronomy or like looking at the stars at night, then you’re probably aware of the star Betelgeuse, which shines as one of the brightest in the sky, and whose red tone has become a traditional sky-watching target during the month of February. However, scientists are saying that it’s been dimming increasingly lately.

Dimming Star

Sitting on the shoulder of the famous constellation of Orion the Hunter, the monster star is around 642 light-years away and is about 1,000 times the size of our very own sun. It’s the alpha (brightest) star in Orion and is also the 11th brightest star in the night sky. And during this time of the year, Betelgeuse can be seen brightening and dimming constantly since it’s a variable.

However, recent observations are saying that the star is dimming increasingly, especially in the last few years that it has been steadily observed. This, according to astronomers and scientists alike, mean that the star can be somewhat close to a supernova explosion or its death. Running out of gas to burn and eventually blowing up, then resulting in a powerful supernova that can be seen from here. Thankfully, astrophysicists said that the star is too far away from us to cause harm. For a supernova to harm us, we have to at least be 50 light-years away from the dying star. Betelgeuse is much farther away from that, meaning that its eventual supernova would cause us no harm.

Finding Betelgeuse In The Night Sky

For those who want to see the star on their own, now is the perfect time to look for Betelgeuse in the night sky. To do this, go outside and wait for your eyes to adjust to the brightness after a few minutes, then turn to the southwestern part of the sky in the Northern Hemisphere and look for the famous constellation Orion the Hunter. Betelgeuse is sitting as its left shoulder, shining bright red. Because of this, you won’t be able to miss it, even in light-polluted areas. It’s also easily visible with the naked eye.

orion-2942261_1920 Betelguese is the brightest, or alpha star in the constellation Orion the Hunter. Photo by Pixabay (CC0)

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