Macro but definitely OT: Betelgeuse

Recently, my favorite astrophysics YouTuber, Dr. Becky Smethurst of Oxford, called attention to a new paper, “The evolutionary stage of Betelgeuse inferred from its pulsation periods” by Saio et al.

Go watch Dr. Becky for the details, with animations and detailed explanations of Type II Supernovae. But the gist of the paper is that by looking at the periodic variation in Betelgeuse’s brightness, the researchers’ model suggests the coming supernova may happen in the next few decades .

There hasn’t been a supernova in our neighborhood since July 4, 1054, when Chinese astronomers observed a supernova, now labeled SN1054, that remained visible for almost two years. The remnants of that supernova are now called the Crab Nebula.



For anyone not quite sure how big Betelgeuse is, here’s a 55 second video that illustrates it nicely:

I’d say we are a speck of dust, but that makes us seem too important.


I applaud your recommendation - her excitement at what she does is very contagious. Been watching her for years.


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