Astronomers use ground-based and space-based observatories have found that the reason for the recent record tarnishing supergiant Betelgeuse was the release of the plasma bubble and convection cells. After passing through the atmosphere of a star, the plasma is cooled, forming a dust cloud. Article published in the journal The Astrophysical Journal.
Betelgeuse is at a distance of about 700 light years from the Sun in the constellation of Orion. This red supergiant is many times more massive than the Sun and is considered one of the largest known stars. Current age of Betelgeuse is about eight million years: it is estimated that in the next ten thousand years there will be a gravitational collapse of the core and the star explodes as a supernova type II (read more about why this happens, you can read in the article “Clock is ticking”).
Betelgeuse belongs to the class of semiregular variable stars and shows long-period oscillations of the Shine. However, in the period from November 2019-March 2020 it record dimmed in the entire history of photoelectron observations: its apparent magnitude has fallen from 0.6 to 1.6. Then some astronomers found that the giant ready to explode, but in April of this year, its brightness was restored to normal values.
Originally there were two versions of the strong fall of the brilliance of Betelgeuse: quenching the visible surface due to strong pulsations and convective processes and a large release of dust towards the earthly observer. The second version soon received confirmation: convective cells over the stars found a cloud of dust. Evidence — observations in the submillimeter range have the first version.
A team of astronomers, led by Andrea Dupree (Andrea Dupree) from the Harvard-Smithsonian center for astrophysics published the results of the analysis of observations of Betelgeuse in 2019-2020. Data were collected through the “Hubble” who followed the star in the ultraviolet range, ground-based Observatory STELLA, which received information about the movement of the outer layers of the star, the space Observatory STEREO and ground-based observers and observatories (e.g., TrES), which tracked changes in the brightness of Betelgeuse.