New observations show an apparent huge dark spot, which can be seen dulling Betelgeuse, the star that has recently caught the attention of astronomers.
Using the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory in Chile, scientists managed to capture images that reveal changes not only in their brilliance, but also in the shape of the red supergiant in the constellation Orion.
Several instruments of the scientific facilities allow to observe the surface of the star, as well as the material that surrounds it. Some of the new images obtained show dust clouds that have been ejected by Betelgeuse.
Despite being a variable star, which may occasionally decrease its brilliance, what is striking is that studies show that the star is at its dimmest point in more than 25 years, and perhaps even in 50 years of observations.
The most recent observations show that the rate of decrease in brilliance of Betelgeuse is now slower, but the reduction in brilliance has not yet stopped.
Until February 13, the star showed 36% of its usual brilliance. Some recent studies suggest that hydrogen on the surface of Betelgeuse is running low.
If the forecasts are correct, it is anticipated that the minimum in brilliance of Betelgueuse should occur sometime between February 14 and 28, 2020 (probably near February 21), after which it is supposed to gradually begin to increase its brilliance .
Although some have suggested that perhaps the star could be about to explode in the form of a supernova (something that can happen to massive stars in their final stage of life), astronomers understand that it could be an incredible stellar activity, changes in the surface of the star or eruption of gases and dust that could be obscuring it.
“It could take several months to better understand what is happening with the star,” said the Caribbean Astronomy Society (SAC), while noting that it is fascinating that something is happening with a star that is very easy to identify. Simple sight in the night sky.
For those who had observed it with the naked eye, the current decline in brilliance is really noticeable, said the educational entity.
The SAC indicated that Betelgeuse, located approximately 650 light-years from Earth, is the star that looks somewhat orange, near the three stars known to many as “the three wise men” in Orion, a constellation that can be seen in these nights