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Manwon Lender

Mysterious Dimming of Red Supergiant Betelgeuse Explained by New Theory

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Manwon Lender

From October 2019 to March 2020, Betelgeuse demonstrated a mysterious dimming, capturing the attention and imagination of both astronomers and the public. While being a variable star that exhibits periodic and sometimes irregular light change, this dimming is the most significant observed in the last 50 years. It became fainter by more than 2.5 times, which even can be noticed by the naked eye in the night sky. Several scenarios have been put forward by astronomers around the world: pre-phase of supernova explosion, obscuring dust, or changes in the photosphere of the star. 

“We have found that at the minimum of its luminosity, the effective temperature of Betelgeuse on January 31, 2020, was 3476 Kelvins. However, after it recovered its brightness, on April 6, 2020, the effective temperature was 3646 Kelvins. The changing of the effective temperature by 170 K is sufficient to explain this mysterious dimming,” said Dr. Sofya Alexeeva.

What could lead to a temperature drop by 170 K? It could be caused by a large dark star-spot on the surface of Betelgeuse. The presence of spots on red supergiants is a well-known phenomenon. These spots are likely a consequence of convective flows or cool convective cells, which are widely believed to be present in such stars.

https://scitechdaily.com/mysterious-dimming-of-red-supergiant-betelgeuse-explained-by-new-theory/

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