An international team of researchers suggests that fluctuations in the brightness of the star Betelgeuse, located 650 light-years from Earth, They indicate that it may soon explode and turn into a supernova. The study supporting this hypothesis, signed by scientists from Tohoku University in Japan and the University of Geneva in Switzerland, has been submitted for publication in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. But other astronomers disagree with this theory.
Fuel in the end?
Betelgeuse is a bright red giant, It is located in the constellation of Orion, which is between 15 and 20 times the mass of the Sun. In 2019, the star unexpectedly dimmed, but recovered in early 2023 until it was past its maximum brightness. Interestingly enough, Betelgeuse is a star that appeared only 10 million years ago, which is a tiny amount of time on the scale of the universe.
According to the study, Betelgeuse may have a few years of “fuel” left in its core. When the star burns through this last reserve, its core will collapse into a black hole, and in the process, blast off the star’s outer layers at massive speeds of up to 40,000 kilometers per second. This phenomenon is what astronomers call a supernova explosion, and in the case of Betelgeuse, it would be a fascinating sight for observers on Earth, as it is located relatively close to our planet.
“We conclude that Betelgeuse must be currently at a late stage (or near the end) of its central carbon burn. After the carbon is consumed, core collapse occurs, leading to a supernova explosion. It is estimated that this will happen within a few decades.stated the study authors.
Other researchers disagree with the study’s conclusion. Our team maintains that The time until Betelgeuse goes supernova is on the order of 100,000 yearsa number that comes (mostly) from the burning state of helium,” Meredith Joyce, an astronomer at Konkoli Observatory in Hungary, told Gizmodo. “I have to confirm that with our knowledge The current … Betelgeuse core should burn with helium and should explode in at least tens of thousands of years”.
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