Confirmed: Betelguese is brightening, as predicted

More observations have now confirmed that Betelguese is once again brightening, as predicted.

Photometry secured over the last ~2 weeks shows that Betelgeuse has stopped its large decline of delta-V of ~1.0 mag relative to September 2019. The star reached a mean light minimum of = 1.614 +/- 0.008 mag during 07-13 February 2020. This is approximately 424+/-4 days after the last (shallower: V ~ +0.9 mag) light minimum was observed in mid-December 2018. Thus the present fading episode is consistent with the continuation of the persistent 420-430 day period present in prior photometry.

In other words, the star’s dimming, though deeper than earlier dips, was right in line with a well-known variation cycle. While absolutely worth close observation and study, the data now strongly suggests that this is relatively normal behavior for this aging red giant star. It will likely go supernova sometime in the future, not likely now.

Betelguese fades a full magnitude

Long term observations of the red giant star Betelguese have found it to have faded a full magnitude in the past few months, dropping it from 6th brightest in the sky to the 21st.

You will see a lot of bad journalism related to this story, hyping the fact that Betelguese is considered one of the top nearby stars to someday in the far future go supernovae. However, the recent change in brightness is unlikely related to this and is nothing unusual, as the star fluctuates regularly.

The current faintness of Betelgeuse appears to arise from the coincidence of the star being near the minimum light of the ~5.9-yr light-cycle as well as near, the deeper than usual, minimum of the ~425-d period.

The star is definitely interesting, because it is so large (if placed in our solar system its surface would be around the orbit of Jupiter) and so defuse, more like a partly filled gasbag. However, the odds of it going supernovae in the near future is quite unlikely.