A Star In Orion Is Acting So Strangely That Some Believe It May Go Supernova
Betelgeuse, the red supergiant on the left side in the constellation of Orion, has been dimming in recent months, fueling speculation that the massive star may explode soon as a powerful supernova that would be visible from Earth during the day time, according to Salon.
Astronomers from Villanova University reported that Betelgeuse is the faintest it has been in 50 years of observations.
“Betelgeuse is dimming, which is an indication that it will go supernova soon -- we don’t exactly know,” said space security expert Dr. Malcolm Davis. “When it happen (it would have actually happened [about] 690 years before we see it on Earth given the star’s distance) it will be as bright as the full moon.”
The star is believed to be between 425 and 700 light years away from Earth, with a mass about 10 to 20 times that of the sun. Its volume is around 1,400 times larger, while its luminosity is about 14,000 times brighter than the sun.
Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb told Salon that stars like Betelgeues typically collapse into neutron stars or black holes.
“In the former case, it will appear as a core collapse supernova whereas in the second case it might produce a gamma-ray burst. But even then, the gamma-rays are collimated in two beams about a few percent of source sky, so we have a small likelihood of lining up with one of those beams,” Loeb said.
Either way, Betelgeuse going supernova would carry “an enormous amount of information about the formation process of the neutron star and its properties,” Loeb added.
The information that could be gathered would “revolutionize our understanding of supernovae and the collapse dynamics of the cores of their progenitors. They would serve as a very detailed ultrasound taken just before, during, and shortly after the birth of a baby,” he said.