I waxed poetic while holding my breath in late 2019, waiting for the star Betelgeuse to go nova. It was dimming in a most-notable manner, which was odd and exciting. Then it brightened again, seeming to thumb its photonic nose at us all.
The mystery of what this red giant was up to seems to be solved. While not as exciting as a supernova, it is pretty nifty. The actual astronomical images are available online, but this artist’s rendering is eye-catching.
Hubble Space Telescope’s UV data… combined with some timely ground observations indicated that a big burp that formed a cloud of dust near the star may have caused the star to get darker.
“With Hubble, we could see the material as it left the star’s surface and moved out through the atmosphere, before the dust formed that caused the star to appear to dim,” said Andrea Dupree, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who made those observations. She is also a co-author on the new paper. ARS
All my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.