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Betelgeuse is faint (for it)

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#1 smithrrlyr

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 03:20 PM

Betelgeuse is a variable star and at its brightest can exceed the brightness of Procyon.  It can drop to fainter than Aldebaran at its faintest.  It is now fainter than it has been in a few years.  Last night it appeared to be close to Aldebaran in brightness, but maybe a tenth of a magnitude or so brighter to my eye.  Procyon has a V magnitude of +0.34, while Aldebaran is about +0.9 (and may itself be variable by a tenth of a magnitude or so).  I find it fun to keep an eye on what Betelgeuse is doing, and if you want to follow the slow changes in its brightness, this is a good time to catch it when it is faint.  Procyon and Aldebaran make good naked eye comparison stars when all three are relatively high in the sky (aside from Procyon being much less red).  Near the horizon, atmospheric extinction can mess up the apparent magnitudes.  Of course, some day we may look up to see Betelgeuse becoming a supernova, but this slow variability is a much surer bet for now.


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#2 Astrojensen

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 03:33 PM

I hope Betelgeuse doesn't go boom in my time, as it would forever ruin the constellation Orion, one of my dearest childhood friends. Winters would be lonely without him. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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#3 Stellar1

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 03:41 PM

I hope Betelgeuse doesn't go boom in my time, as it would forever ruin the constellation Orion, one of my dearest childhood friends. Winters would be lonely without him. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

HUH?? you mean you wouldn't want to witness a supernova with your naked eyes? Betelgeuse will outshine the full moon for roughly 3 months, we may never see this so close again in a hundred lifetimes! if we were fortunate enough to see it in ours, it would be a monumental stellar event, i hope to god i see big B go boom in my lifetime, it would be the cherry on top of my life!.


Edited by Stellar1, 04 January 2019 - 03:42 PM.

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#4 James Ball

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 03:56 PM

HUH?? you mean you wouldn't want to witness a supernova with your naked eyes? Betelgeuse will outshine the full moon for roughly 3 months, we may never see this so close again in a hundred lifetimes! if we were fortunate enough to see it in ours, it would be a monumental stellar event, i hope to god i see big B go boom in my lifetime, it would be the cherry on top of my life!.

I wonder if it does, would we have a naked eye nebula we could observe for some time?  I mean bright enough to see detail and color not just a fuzzy spot.



#5 smithrrlyr

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 03:56 PM

HUH?? you mean you wouldn't want to witness a supernova with your naked eyes? Betelgeuse will outshine the full moon for roughly 3 months, we may never see this so close again in a hundred lifetimes! if we were fortunate enough to see it in ours, it would be a monumental stellar event, i hope to god i see big B go boom in my lifetime, it would be the cherry on top of my life!.

Ah, but imagine all the complaints from the deep sky object observers for those three months!


Edited by smithrrlyr, 04 January 2019 - 03:57 PM.

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#6 DHEB

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 03:57 PM

I hope Betelgeuse doesn't go boom in my time, as it would forever ruin the constellation Orion, one of my dearest childhood friends. Winters would be lonely without him.

Come on! Accept that some friends change with time and still remain good folks wink.gif

 

HUH?? you mean you wouldn't want to witness a supernova with your naked eyes? Betelgeuse will outshine the full moon for roughly 3 months, we may never see this so close again in a hundred lifetimes! if we were fortunate enough to see it in ours, it would be a monumental stellar event, i hope to god i see big B go boom in my lifetime, it would be the cherry on top of my life!.

 I also hope Betelgeuse will bust in what remains of my time on Earth. It will be a show unlike anything else.

 

But as far as explosions go, we can still hope to see the next outburst of T Coronae Borealis. It has two recorded outbursts, one 1866 and another in 1946, when it went from mag ~10 to ~3. If the recurrence time is ~80 years (a coarse supposition) we can hope to see it around 2026, giver or take.


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#7 Astrojensen

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 04:01 PM

HUH?? you mean you wouldn't want to witness a supernova with your naked eyes? Betelgeuse will outshine the full moon for roughly 3 months, we may never see this so close again in a hundred lifetimes! if we were fortunate enough to see it in ours, it would be a monumental stellar event, i hope to god i see big B go boom in my lifetime, it would be the cherry on top of my life!.

I would much prefer Orion to remain his old self, thanks. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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#8 barbie

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 12:12 AM

Betelgeuse may have already blown, we just haven't seen it yet!!   In any case, I hope I see it blow in my lifetime!  It will be a real spectacle to witness!!



#9 Aquarellia

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 01:29 AM

Good post!

Don't be so sad Thomas, if Betelgeuse blows up, we will be able to see this part of Orion during the summer and on top of that during the daylight. wink.gif

NB: the last observer who observed a supernova in our Galaxy was the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, he is still well known for that.

On a 200 days timeframe the AAVSO curve shows very well the decline.

Michel


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#10 smithrrlyr

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 12:50 PM

Good post!

Don't be so sad Thomas, if Betelgeuse blows up, we will be able to see this part of Orion during the summer and on top of that during the daylight. wink.gif

NB: the last observer who observed a supernova in our Galaxy was the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, he is still well known for that.

On a 200 days timeframe the AAVSO curve shows very well the decline.

Michel

It would be fun to see a bright Milky Way supernova, although I'd be satisfied with one in the Andromeda Galaxy.  Isn't Kepler's 1604 nova believed to actually be a supernova?  It would be after Tycho's 1572 supernova, but still a long while ago.  



#11 Aquarellia

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 01:27 PM

It would be fun to see a bright Milky Way supernova, although I'd be satisfied with one in the Andromeda Galaxy.  Isn't Kepler's 1604 nova believed to actually be a supernova?  It would be after Tycho's 1572 supernova, but still a long while ago.  

Oups you'r rigth, I wanted to write "the first observer who observed a supernova in our Galaxy"..., The last one was one month ago in M77 wink.gif !

Michel



#12 Waddensky

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 01:30 PM

Isn't Kepler's 1604 nova believed to actually be a supernova? It would be after Tycho's 1572 supernova, but still a long while ago.

It is! The second one in a generation after the 1572 supernova. Cassiopeia A and G1.9+0.3 are more recent Milky Way supernovae (remnants) but they were most likely invisible to the naked eye.

Its interesting to observe the slight changes of Betelgeuse's brightness. Much going on over there.

Edited by Waddensky, 05 January 2019 - 01:31 PM.

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#13 Waddensky

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 01:44 PM

Oups you'r rigth, I wanted to write "the first observer who observed a supernova in our Galaxy"..., The last one was one month ago in M77 wink.gif !

The Chinese observed the 1054 supernova (Messier 1!), and I'm sure there were other supernovae observed before that.

 

And M77 is a galaxy far, far away ;).



#14 DHEB

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 02:38 PM

Recent behavior is indeed interesting, but gentlemen, let's not forget that stars have longer time scales as compared to human lives.

 

This is AAVSO data for Betelgeuse for three time periods:

 

360 days (~1 year)

Ori-alf_360.png

 

3600 days (~10 years)

Ori-alf_3600.png

 

36000 days (~100 years)

Ori-alf_36000.png

 

There is a variation of less than a magnitude in the last year, while the star has remained within a magnitude in the last 10 years, and within 2 magnitudes in the last century. It seems that it was quite faint (relatively speaking) in the late 80's. As interesting as this is, these variations are quite small compared to other stars.

 

I also personally doubt these small variations are precursor signals of an impending explosion, but of course I do not know for sure. Is it possible to detect an impending supernova explosion, or a nova for that matter? If I think of SS Cygni, for example, I understand that outbursts are only statistically predictable but no signal of impending outburst has been identified (1). So the answer is probably not.

 

(1) SS Cygni Outburst Predictors and Long Term Quasi-periodic Behavior

 

Let's keep looking, then!

 

wink.gif


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#15 Stellar1

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 05:11 PM

Recent behavior is indeed interesting, but gentlemen, let's not forget that stars have longer time scales as compared to human lives.

 

This is AAVSO data for Betelgeuse for three time periods:

 

360 days (~1 year)

attachicon.gif Ori-alf_360.png

 

3600 days (~10 years)

attachicon.gif Ori-alf_3600.png

 

36000 days (~100 years)

attachicon.gif Ori-alf_36000.png

 

There is a variation of less than a magnitude in the last year, while the star has remained within a magnitude in the last 10 years, and within 2 magnitudes in the last century. It seems that it was quite faint (relatively speaking) in the late 80's. As interesting as this is, these variations are quite small compared to other stars.

 

I also personally doubt these small variations are precursor signals of an impending explosion, but of course I do not know for sure. Is it possible to detect an impending supernova explosion, or a nova for that matter? If I think of SS Cygni, for example, I understand that outbursts are only statistically predictable but no signal of impending outburst has been identified (1). So the answer is probably not.

 

(1) SS Cygni Outburst Predictors and Long Term Quasi-periodic Behavior

 

Let's keep looking, then!

 

wink.gif

Good post, i wonder if variations in magnitude vary depending on the size of the star, what may seem like a precursor in one star may not be duplicated in another? who knows. As was mentioned above, Betelgeuse could have already gone supernova 2 hundred years ago but, we wouldn't see that for another 4 hundred years. This bums me out, for me to see big B explode, it would have had to happen some time within an 80 year (average lifespan) period 6 hundred years ago, for me to see it now, these odds are like hitting the lottery. I will keep my fingers crossed regardless, who knows, i would like to go to my dirt nap knowing i have witnessed a supernova naked eyed in our sky.


Edited by Stellar1, 05 January 2019 - 06:24 PM.


#16 DHEB

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 05:53 PM

Good post, i wonder if variations in magnitude vary depending on the size of the star, what may seem like a precursor in one star may not be duplicated in another? who knows. As was mentioned above, Betelgeuse could have already gone supernova 2 thousand years ago but, we wouldn't see that for another 4 thousand years. This bums me out, for me to see big B explode, it would have had to happen some time within an 80 year (average lifespan) period 6 thousand years ago, for me to see it now, these odds are like hitting the lottery. I will keep my fingers crossed regardless, who knows, i would like to go to my dirt nap knowing i have witnessed a supernova naked eyed in our sky.

Betelgeuse going supernova during a given persons lifetime will indeed be even less probable than winning the lottery, not only because of its distance/time as you write, but also because it may well occur within 1000, 10000 or 50000 years in the future, a fairly short time in the life of a star. Note however, that the accepted distance to Betelgeuse is ~640 light years.



#17 Stellar1

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 06:20 PM

Betelgeuse going supernova during a given persons lifetime will indeed be even less probable than winning the lottery, not only because of its distance/time as you write, but also because it may well occur within 1000, 10000 or 50000 years in the future, a fairly short time in the life of a star. Note however, that the accepted distance to Betelgeuse is ~640 light years.

OMG my shame knows no end lol, i added an extra zero on there, i will edit my post, i well knew that.



#18 smithrrlyr

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Posted 06 January 2019 - 06:32 AM

Good post, i wonder if variations in magnitude vary depending on the size of the star, what may seem like a precursor in one star may not be duplicated in another? who knows. As was mentioned above, Betelgeuse could have already gone supernova 2 hundred years ago but, we wouldn't see that for another 4 hundred years. This bums me out, for me to see big B explode, it would have had to happen some time within an 80 year (average lifespan) period 6 hundred years ago, for me to see it now, these odds are like hitting the lottery. I will keep my fingers crossed regardless, who knows, i would like to go to my dirt nap knowing i have witnessed a supernova naked eyed in our sky.

I don't know whether the amplitude of the slow variations depend upon the size of the star, but for stellar pulsations we do expect longer periods with lower densities.  Red supergiants such as Betelgeuse have low densities and often show low level variability on a weeks to months timescale.  I would agree that the recent behavior is not indicative of any imminent explosion.  Since the stages immediately prior to a type II supernova explosion would change the deep interior of Betelgeuse more than the outer envelope, I am not sure whether we would see any change in the variability before an explosion.  If the variability did change in character, I'd keep a careful watch on the star, however!



#19 robin_astro

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Posted 06 January 2019 - 07:42 AM

Betelgeuse going supernova during a given persons lifetime will indeed be even less probable than winning the lottery, not only because of its distance/time as you write, but also because it may well occur within 1000, 10000 or 50000 years in the future, a fairly short time in the life of a star.

We don't know how a supergiant star behaves shortly before undergoing a core collape but if we assume Betelgeuse could go supernova (as observed here) tomorrow or some time in the next million years with equal probability then the probability of going supernova during the lifetime of someone born today and living to 100 is 10000/1 so very good odds compared with winning the lottery jackpot. Unfortunately for me the odds are significantly smaller and lengthening every day :-(

 

Robin


Edited by robin_astro, 06 January 2019 - 09:37 AM.

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#20 kb7wox

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 02:47 PM

Orion’s old nemesis Scorpius at the opposite end of the sky has the similarly-sized red supergiant and supernova candidate Antares at 600 light years. gramps.gif 


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#21 silv

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Posted 24 February 2019 - 07:47 AM

B and A - them going supernova and being visible in my lifetime would be awesome. 

But imagine they create a black hole at a distance of 600 to 650 ly. What would happen then? Would the giant planets "be drawn to" it? (Anybody remember Ally McBeal's admirer John? ) And then our sun? Or Kuiper belt and Oort cloud objects alter their orbits and reach a destructive trajectory?  

And then... the other runaway star, Gliese something, scheduled to touch base with the outer fringes of our solar system in 1 mio years...

 

We better get our act together, stop infighting and combine forces and resources to leave asap. And in the meantime, someone out there better writes some really good sci-fi novels about the 2 black hole scenarios . :D 



#22 robin_astro

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Posted 24 February 2019 - 08:21 AM

But imagine they create a black hole at a distance of 600 to 650 ly. What would happen then? Would the giant planets "be drawn to" it? 

No.  The gravitational field at a distance of a black hole  is no different from that of normal material with the same mass.The mass of the black hole formed by core collapse of a massive star (and hence the gravitational force it exerts)  is actually less than that of the parent star. 

 

Robin


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