Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse!

The Big Picture:

Betelgeuse, the second largest star in the Orion constellation, is acting...strange. Astronomers have been watching and waiting for this red pulsating supergiant star to go supernova (i.e., explode and die). But instead it is growing dimmer!

What do we know about Betelgeuse?

Betelgeuse (pronounced "Beetlejuice") is one of the largest stars in our night sky, with an estimated diameter of about 600 million miles. For comparison: our Sun's diameter is about 864,000 miles.

Betelgeuse is believed to be less than 10 million years old and expected to go supernova within the next 100,000 years. Given that it is now noticeably dimmer, all bets are off!

Look for it in the Orion constellation, viewable to the naked eye in the Northern Hemisphere now through March.

Top image from EarthSky. Second image source unknown.