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Betelgeuse is bright again, and it’s a bit cooler

Betelgeuse is bright again, and it’s a bit cooler


Everyone’s favorite red supergiant star is bright again. The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) has been tracking Betelgeuse as it has gradually returned to its more normal brilliance. As of this writing, it is about 95% of its typical visual brightness. Supernova fans will have to wait a bit longer. Betelgeuse created quite a stir back in February when it became particularly dim. So dim that experienced observers could easily tell with the naked eye. As a variable star, Betelgeuse does go through bright and dim periods, but it was unusual enough that many wondered what might have been the cause. There are several ways a star can vary in brightness. Cepheid variable stars, for example, vary because they expand and contract. As helium in the star’s outer layer is heated it expands, causing the star to swell. The helium then cools and the star shrinks again. This pulsation effect is so regular that astronomers can use Cepheids as standard candles to measure the…
Source: Betelgeuse is bright again, and it’s a bit cooler

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