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Further data adds weight to the dust outburst theory for explaining Betelgeuse’s dimming in 2019

Betelqeuse
An optical image of Betelgeuse taken in 2017 by a ground-based
telescope, showing its not unusual aspherical shape.
Click for original image.

Further analysis of the data gathered from Beteleguese during its unusual dimming in 2019 to 2020, has now strengthened the hypothesis that the dimming was caused by an outburst of dust from the star, creating a cloud that temporarily blocked its light.

Although the star as a whole appeared to darken, Betelgeuse’s photosphere seemed to actually brighten during the event. The Université Côte d’Azur astronomers say this observation is consistent with a likely theory, supported by observations, that Betelgeuse dimmed from our view due to a burst of dust, in the form of silicon monoxide, coming from the star. In turn, that burst might be related to a sudden cooling of the star’s surface.

“The changes in the structure of the photosphere and the silicon monoxide are consistent with both the formation of a cold spot on the star’s surface and the ejection of a cloud of dust,” the statement reads.

This new data also suggests that this dimming did not presage the star going supernova, but was simply part of the star’s normal fluctuations. Betelgeuse is essentially a giant gasbag that actually pulses not only in light but in shape. In a sense it behaves exactly like a blob of water floating in weightlessness.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

 

The print edition can be purchased at Amazon. Or you can buy it directly from the author and get an autographed copy.

 
The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.


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"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

One comment

  • Ferris

    “Betelgeuse is essentially a giant gasbag that actually pulses not only in light but in shape.”

    Sounds like a lot of our politicians when they walk onto a stage…

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