Betelgeuse and the Boom

Normally a bright, obvious red point on the constellation Orion’s shoulder, Betelgeuse is one of the most recognizable stars in the sky. About 700 light-years away, the star is a red supergiant, so big its diameter would reach out to Jupiter if it were parked in place of the sun.

Over the last year the star has dimmed significantly causing some speculation in the astronomy world that it is on its way to supernova in the near future. However, recent observations have proven that the star is getting brighter again, and that the dimming is part of a process called convection on the stars surface. Material in the interior is heated and rises to the surface. It then cools and sinks into the star, and the cycle continues. Convection happens in the outer regions of most stars, includind our own sun.

It's all part of the delicate balance of gravity and nuclear fusion within all stars. Betelgeuse will fuse helium to stay in the red supergiant stage for another 100,000 years. Then after helium, it will be able to fuse carbon into heavier elements for about a millennium. After that things will change relatively quickly.
So no boom today, and probably not for quite awhile.

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