The enigma of the “great loss of brilliance” of the star Betelgeuse clarified
DECRYPTION – A predominantly French team thinks they can explain why the supergiant lost two-thirds of its brightness in early 2020.
When the star Betelgeuse lost two-thirds of its brightness between December 2019 and mid-February 2020, some saw it as the possible precursor sign of its cataclysmic extinction. The prelude to a brutal explosion called a supernova which corresponds to the moment when a red supergiant at the end of its life suddenly contracts on itself before rebounding in a large fireworks display of gas, dust and extremely energetic radiation to leave behind her than her corpse: a neutron star or a black hole.
Unfortunately (because the spectacle would have been magnificent seen from the Earth and a priori without danger), the long-awaited catastrophe will not take place. Not right away anyway. It was already not certain that a drop in luminosity could be the warning symptom of the end of a star’s life, but it was also very transitory. Quickly, Betelgeuse regained its former glory, still leaving astronomers with a mystery to
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