In the Before Times, when thewas only just beginning its grim march across the globe, our troubles were much farther away. About 640 light-years farther away, in fact. Astronomers observing , a red supergiant star, . Some believed the event, which lasted from November 2019 to February 2020, was signaling the star’s upcoming explosion. But then .
Thanks to observations by NASA’s Hubble telescope, we might know why.
A new study, published in The Astrophysical Journal on Thursday (and accessible at arXiv), examined ultraviolet light emitted by Betelgeuse during the “Great Dimming” event using the . Fortunately, the event occurred just as Hubble scientists were looking to observe Betelgeuse with the telescope, providing a chance to understand why the star had begun to go dark.
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