In a new study, scientists have calculated that the red giant Betelgeuse is closer to our planet and smaller in size. The study also mentions that the star will not turn into a supernova anytime soon.
Betelgeuse, the red giant, previously estimated at 640 light-years from Earth, is known as the weirdest of all the stars in the sky. He is expected to eventually die in a supernova explosion, but that could be 100,000 years away. Scientists have been closely following the star since the end of 2019 as it began to fade.
This decrease in Betelgeuse’s brightness led to speculation that the star was close to a supernova explosion. In later studies, it was reported that the first darkening was related to a dust cloud, while the second and smaller dimming was probably caused by pressure waves that triggered vibrations in the giant star.
Why is Betelgeuse getting dark?
“It is normally one of the brightest stars in the sky, but since late 2019 we have observed two declines in Betelgeuse’s brightness,” said Meridith Joyce of the Australian National University. This leads to speculation that the star may be about to explode, but the new study offers a different explanation.
Using hydrodynamic and seismic modeling, the researchers confirmed that pressure waves caused Betelgeuse to vibrate. At the same time, the co-author of the study, Dr. Shing-Chi Leung said it was confirmed that it was pressure waves – essentially sound waves – that caused Betelgeuse to vibrate.
The lead of the study is Dr. Meredith Joyce says the star is currently burning helium in its core, so it’s not close to a supernova. Joyce also highlighted that a possible supernova explosion could occur in about 100,000 years.
Smaller and closer than thought:
While another researcher on the project said the physical size of Betelgeuse is a mystery, previous studies have suggested that it may be larger than Jupiter’s orbit.
The research suggests that Betelgeuse’s size is not as large as previously thought, and that its radius is only two-thirds of what was thought. The researchers were also able to calculate the star’s distance from Earth by resizing.
According to the calculation, Betelgeuse is located 25% closer to Earth and 530 light-years away than previously believed. Even if calculations change, the star is too far away that the inevitable future supernova explosion will have no significant impact on our planet.