Orion has changed!

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Orion has changed!

Post by Jstamm » Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:55 am

If you've been following the news, there is something afoot with Orion. More specifically, Betelgeuse is undergoing significant, if not historic, dimming. According to the reports I have read, it is half as bright as it was just months ago.

As everyone knows around here, the weather has been awful. Last night the weather cleared and I had a driveway observing session.

Betelgeuse looks dramatically different. It is much dimmer and redder. Its is obvious just glancing at Orion that something has changed. The telescopic view of Betelgeuse has changed. Through my 5" refractor, the star looks like a very bright carbon star - very pretty!

Most Astronomers expect the star to return to normal variability (it has been a variable star, irregular I believe with 2 cycles). Some even say this could be a prelude to supernova (doubtful).

Tonight (1/5) will be clear so take a peek at Orion. Who knows, the armpit of the giant may not be here long or it may soon return to normal!


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Re: Orion has changed!

Post by Bsimon » Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:28 am

I did look at Orion briefly from the deck of my cruise ship, the "Majestic Princess" while in the Tasman Sea between New Zealand and Australia last week. I only observed it visually and was more taken with it's "upside down" appearance as we were so far south (about 45 degrees south latitude). It was as high in the northern sky as it is in the southern sky for us in New Orleans. I had not heard about the dimming at that time and Orion's unusual orientation distracted me from paying too much attention to Betelgeuse's brightness.

In any event there is a lot of information available now about this and the links I am including here have some nice image captures and a good simulation video of what we would likely see in the event that Betelgeuse would go supernova during our lifetime.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/202 ... ading.html

The light curve shows:

--about mag. 1.5 or a little fainter on Jan 2.

--dimmer than any time in the last 26-27 years.

https://earthsky.org/space/betelgeuse-d ... -supernova

Barry Simon

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