Can the star rise from the brink of death? One star did it — or at least seemed to.
In early 2019, the red giant Betelgeuse appeared It started faintly. Some observers speculated that the dimming was a harbinger of the star’s end: it was the first warning sign that Betelgeuse was about to go supernova.
Astronomers are now certain that this is not true. the pictures Released The European Southern Observatory (ESO) on Monday (October 23) clearly showed that Betelgeuse returned to normal after the event.
Related: Will the elusive star Betelgeuse explode into our lifetime after all?
These images are credited to a team from France’s University of Côte d’Azur, which took high-resolution images of Betelgeuse between December 2018 and December 2020. using the MATISSE (Multi-Aperture Mid-Infrared Spectroscopic Experiment) instrument housed at the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Observatory. Telescope interferometer in northern Chile, these astronomers discovered the star before, during and after the dimming event.
Although the star as a whole appeared dark, it is a Betelgeuse star Photosphere It seemed to really shine during the event. Astronomers at the University of Côte d’Azur say this observation is consistent with a possible theory, He supported From observations, Betelgeuse is faint from our eyes due to an explosion of dust, in the form of silicon monoxide, coming from the star. In turn, this explosion may be related to the sudden cooling of the star’s surface.
“Changes in the structure of the photosphere and silicon monoxide are consistent with the formation of a cold spot on the surface of the star and the ejection of a dust cloud.” statement is reading.
If the theory is correct, it will be Link it to the results of the 2021 study around the star, which had suggested that Betelgeuse belched up a bubble of gas. Astronomers who were observing the star at the time concluded that some gas may have exploded from its surface due to the sudden drop in temperature.
According to the 2021 results, the cold snap was also stark enough to cool the departing gas enough for some to condense into solid dust. The dust would then spread out to form a veil in front of the star, dimming it from our view, so Matthysse’s images support this theory. In addition, the images also suggest that dust – the same dust that can go on to fuel newborn star systems – can actually form near stars.
However, supergiants like Betelgeuse, late in their stellar lives, still present astronomers with a large number of mysteries. If another star within our galaxy is about to go supernova, astronomers — who haven’t observed such stellar death since the 17th century — don’t quite know what to expect.
A study of Mattis’ images of the great dimming of the star Betelgeuse was made published In Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters in September 2023.
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