Now that we have clear weather, I encourage everyone to take a look at the constellation of Orion tonight. In particular look at the red star Alpha Orionis – Betelgeuse – visually. You may never see it this dim in your lifetime again. Many of you may have heard about the fading of this 1st magnitude star. It is (was) in the top 10 in brightness and is now in the bottom 20. The fading began in October/November and it is now at about magnitude +1.6 (instead of +0.3). It is a red supergiant variable star but is now at its faintest ever. It will no doubt recover to its former glory. S&T website covers it and a prediction of when it will brighten. The AAVSO website will allow you to plot the brightness for the dates that you pick.
I saw it the last two nights and it was strange seeing it so much fainter than before. In the past Rigel (beta Orionis) and Betelgeuse dominated the constellation but as of last night’s view only Rigel dominates.
Give it a look and see what you think.
I definitely notice it, it's quite striking compared to what I expect to see.