General / Off-Topic Is Betelgeuse going to blow up?

Waaaay off topic for a moment.

Betelgeus is about 600LY away, so if it does blow up this year it blew up 600 years or so ago. What tense should one use about such events?

The general rule is current tense as @Juniper says, if anything for the fact we rarely are sure of the exact distance of stellar objects. 600 ly is our best loose estimate, but we wouldn't be really sure it happened 600 years ago, or 450, or 700. At the same time we are pretty sure of when is "now" on our side.
 
Aren't you using past tense kind of by default when you talk about explosions? You won't say "it's blowing up", you will say "it blew up" :)
 
My apologies to all. It has become apparent to me that, when discussing measurements such as arc-minutes, I did not, apparently, include the word "apparent" alongside the word "size" despite such things being apparently obvious given the fact that the original conversation was about how big the Betelguese supernova would appear to be in the visible sky should it explode. It would appear that I need to make greater effort to improve the apparent appearance of my communication skills should I ever discuss any such issue in the future.

:p
 
I think having it in our lifetime would be like striking a major lottery win. Sort of hoping but knowing it won't happen.

By the way, last Summer I 'stumbled' upon Betelgeuse by looking at the clear sky in the countryside and thinking what that 'giant blob' is, at least I perceived it as 'fat' almost like Venus of which you can almost see the dimensions instead of just a shiny dot. It was stunning to realize via phone app that it was Betelgeuse... at the very least I hope it will get back its luminosity for the Summer season again. :)
 
Considering the actual distance, the question shouldn't be "Will", it should be "Did".
Not really, we're dealing with timeframes measured in tens to hundreds of thousands of years for its remaining life expectancy. Our descendants one day might have to wait for the civilisations which follow them to learn it happened during their lifetimes, but we can be pretty sure it's unlikely to have happened yet.

Unless, like, the Antarans showed up with stellar converters mounted on their fleets or something. But we could ask that of any star in the sky then.
 
By the way, last Summer I 'stumbled' upon Betelgeuse by looking at the clear sky in the countryside and thinking what that 'giant blob' is, at least I perceived it as 'fat' almost like Venus of which you can almost see the dimensions instead of just a shiny dot. It was stunning to realize via phone app that it was Betelgeuse... at the very least I hope it will get back its luminosity for the Summer season again. :)

Are you sure it was Betelgeuse that you were seeing? Orion is a winter constellation in the North emisphere, in the summer the star will rise sometime around/before dawn and set around dusk, at best you could spot it very low on the horizon around those hours. (I reckon "summer" is also very generic, could have been very early or late season)
 
Are you sure it was Betelgeuse that you were seeing? Orion is a winter constellation in the North emisphere, in the summer the star will rise sometime around/before dawn and set around dusk, at best you could spot it very low on the horizon around those hours. (I reckon "summer" is also very generic, could have been very early or late season)

Pretty sure as I checked it with a mobile app and the looks was bright and properly red, and yes, it was quite low on the horizon, it was dark enough but not much after sunset.

I will be again at the countryside this weekend, I hope the skies will be clear... :)
 
Poor Orion will be missing a shoulder...
He'll have to get a wooden arm. And maybe a parrot to put on his shoulder!

Wait, what if it isn't contracting but it actually moves really fast in a large circle and it's just getting to the farther part of it's orbit?


And why do people think that isn't just something getting in front of it?! Are such dimmings usually odd irregular shapes that look like a partial eclipse?!
 
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Wait, what if it isn't contracting but it actually moves really fast in a large circle and it's just getting to the farther part of it's orbit?

We'd know that by doppler measurements on its radial velocity, we're able to get very precise numbers from that, enough to spot exoplanets by the incredibly tiny wobble their gravity imparts on their parent star. Also, to dim just because of that it should be in an orbit with several tens of lightyears of elongation. Rather impractical. :D

And why do people think that isn't just something getting in front of it?! Are such dimmings usually odd irregular shapes that look like a partial eclipse?!

Actually they did think of that, that's one of the hypotesis made so far, dust ejected from the outer shells of the star was a most likely candidate. That, or an enormous "sunspot", probably no way to know with our current means.
 
Actually they did think of that, that's one of the hypotesis made so far, dust ejected from the outer shells of the star was a most likely candidate. That, or an enormous "sunspot", probably no way to know with our current means.
Actually our "current means" can image the Betelgeuse's surface features just fine. ;)

betelgeuse 2.jpg


The problem with all the predictions and interpretations isn't that we don't know what it looks like or what's around it but rather that we lack any kind of reference for modelling.
It's not even remotely spherical, it doesn't have a stable photosphere (nor any other layer we could model by what we know about "normal stars"), it's extremely violent and unstable.
Basically it's not a "star" at all, just a giant angry blob of nuclear fusion.

So the fact that there is an actual predictable periodicity in its luminosity is almost unbelievable.
But it also kind of rules out the occlusion theory. I mean, of course that it's possible something traveled across it, but imho most likely the side facing us just had a streak of bad weather :LOL:

In any case, it's bouncing back towards its usual luminosity already so unfortunately we're probably going to miss the show of our lifetimes. :)
 
That's not an image of its surface though, but of the star's surrounding material ejected over time. The actual star is the tiny pinprick at the center, and our best image of that is the extremely fuzzy blob already showed in previous images. Those are very much our "current means" ;)

I mean, of course that it's possible something traveled across it, but imho most likely the side facing us just had a streak of bad weather :LOL:

Exactly that, it's either the mother of all sunspots, or the mother of all clumps of dust.
 
Could they make an opposite picture with the surrounding covered and the middle exposed to get a more accurate image?
 
That's not an image of its surface though, but of the star's surrounding material ejected over time. The actual star is the tiny pinprick at the center, and our best image of that is the extremely fuzzy blob already showed in previous images. Those are very much our "current means
You mean this one?
betelgeuse 1.jpg


I think that's the same image only without the blind in the middle.
I very much believe that all of that previous image is the Betelgeuse, though. As in - it's not just a dust cloud around the star or ejected material, there's an actual fusion going on all around the place.
 
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