Astronomers are nonetheless making new discoveries concerning the purple supergiant star Betelgeuse, which skilled a mysterious “dimming” a couple of years in the past. That dimming was finally attributed to a chilly spot and a stellar “burp” that shrouded the star in interstellar mud. Now, new observations from the Hubble Area Telescope and different observatories have revealed extra concerning the occasion that preceded the dimming.
It appears Betelgeuse suffered an enormous floor mass injection (SME) occasion in 2019, blasting off 400 instances as a lot mass as our Solar does throughout coronal mass ejections (CMEs). The sheer scale of the occasion is unprecedented and means that CMEs and SMEs are distinctly various kinds of occasions, in accordance with a brand new paper posted to the physics arXiv final week. (It has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.)
Betelgeuse is a vivid purple star within the Orion constellation—one of many closest large stars to Earth, about 700 light-years away. It is an outdated star that has reached the stage the place it glows a uninteresting purple and expands, with the new core solely having a tenuous gravitational grip on its outer layers. The star has one thing akin to a heartbeat, albeit a particularly sluggish and irregular one. Over time, the star cycles by way of intervals when its floor expands after which contracts.
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