Stunning photographs were released by NASA last week that show a bizarre event that has never been observed before: a star called Betelgeuse blasted the top of itself off, ejecting an enormous percentage of its surface mass into space.
And it is now “bouncing.”
This phenomenon is referred to as a Surface Mass Ejection (SME), and according to NASA, the mass of the ejection was 400 billion times greater than that of a typical solar flare coming from our Sun.
When asked about what happened to the star Betelgeuse, scientists say they “don’t completely understand” what occurred.
After the star became dimmer, sparking rumors that it was on the verge of exploding into a supernova, it began behaving in a strange manner, which has continued for years.
However, something even more unusual is occurring to the star: it is recovering from it’s own huge explosion and is now “sort of bouncing.”
The data obtained from the Hubble Space Telescope and other instruments used to observe the star, its explosion, and the aftereffects of the explosion led scientists to reach this conclusion after they analyzed the data.
“These new observations yield clues as to how red stars lose mass late in their lives as their nuclear fusion furnaces burn out, before exploding as supernovae,” NASA said.
The phenomenon was described by scientists as a case of viewing “stellar evolution” in real time. Many people were taken aback when they saw a star spew such enormous portions of its own physical form.
Even while researchers have claimed that the unusually large amount of emission coming from Betelgeuse does not indicate that the star is likely to explode or pass away in the near future, it is undeniably a “never-before-seen” phenomenon that requires further investigation.
“We’ve never before seen a huge mass ejection of the surface of a star,” explained Andrea Dupree of the Center for Astrophysics, who has been collecting data on the star.
“We are left with something going on that we don’t completely understand. It’s a totally new phenomenon that we can observe directly and resolve surface details with Hubble. We’re watching stellar evolution in real time.”
Betelgeuse is a bright red supergiant star that can be seen in the right shoulder region of the constellation Orion. Betelgeuse has been tagged as a “redgiant” because it is rapidly consuming its fuel supply and has consequently grown to a size that is around 1.6 billion kilometers in diameter.
Scientists hope that by observing the star Betelgeuse, they may be able to better grasp what happens to a star as it enters the latter phase of its existence.
After everything is said and done, when the star Betelgeuse has exhausted its capacity for nuclear fusion reactions, it will blow up and transform into a supernova. Astronomers are of the opinion that we may potentially observe the phenomenon from our home planet.
For centuries, scientists have been captivated by the star Betelgeuse. It is one of the brightest stars visible in the night sky.
In 2019, though, it started behaving in strange way.
The surface ejection explains the riddle surrounding the inexplicable darkening of Betelgeuse in photos that were captured in 2019 and 2020. The phenomenon left scientists from countries all over the world baffled as to why it was occurring.
However, it turns out the dimming was probably caused by a vast dust cloud that was generated as a result of the tremendous explosion—blocking the light coming from the star.
Betelgeuse still appears to be getting back to normal following the recent occurrence. The 400-day pulsation rate that scientists have monitored for the past 200 years has disappeared, and the star itself is now bouncing.
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