The red supergiant Betelgeuse still had a yellow glow not so long ago

The red supergiant Betelgeuse still had a yellow glow not so long ago

The red supergiant Betelgeuse still had a yellow glow not so long ago

If the star Betelgeuse currently appears red to the naked eye, this has not always been the case. Researchers have just shown that its transformation into a red supergiant happened very recently and that it was still a yellow star 2,000 years ago!

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[EN VIDÉO] Why does the star Betelgeuse change in brightness?
Who is Betelgeuse, a usually very bright star in the constellation of Orion. Why has its brightness steadily decreased since the fall of 2019? What will happen to him?

During its evolution, when the star has used up all its fuel and can no longer perform nuclear mergersit then moves on to the next stage which depends on it mass initial. LBetelgeuse staranalyzed in a study in the journal MNRAS, is no exception. It is currently in the stage of red supergiantthat is, it came out of the main sequence and it will become a supernova in a very short time on an astronomical scale.

While she has already surprised during his decrease in brightness in 2019the second brightest star in the Orion constellation has interested researchers for something else: its own color. If it currently appears red, the team has just shown that it wasn’t always like this! This is demonstrated by the ancient texts, ranging from three millennia ago to today “Betelgeuse rapidly evolved in color as it crossed the Hertzsprung-Russell diagramexplains the study, namely that it was still yellow 2,000 years ago!

This type of evolution is rarely observable on a human scale.

Either in the writings of the Chinese court Sima Qian in 100 BC J.-C., or in the accounts of “Mediterranean Antiquity (Igino, PtolemyGermanicus, Manilius and Cleomedes) “, Betelgeuse it is described 2000 years ago as being similar in color to Saturn, or simply yellow. “From these specifications, it can be concluded that Betelgeuse at that time was colored between the blue-white of Sirius and Bellatrix and the Red of Antares “To explain Ralph Neuhauser in a press releasefirst author of the study and professor at the University of Jena.

A fact that may seem insignificant but which is important. “The very fact that it has changed color over the course of two millennia from yellow-orange to red tells us, with theoretical calculations, that it has 14 times the mass of our sun – and mass is the main parameter that defines the evolution of stars.explains R.Neuhäuser. Betelgeuse is now 14 million years old and in its final stages of evolution. In about 1.5 million years, it will finally explode as a supernova ”.

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