Betelgeuse Has Faded

Betelgeuse, or Alpha Orionis, has been usually faint over the past few weeks.

Usually, Betelgeuse varies between magnitudes 0.2 and 1.0, however, Betelgeuse is now below the first magnitude. This is not unprecedented behaviour for Betelgeuse, but it is the faintest this star has been for fifty years.

Like all massive stars, Betelgeuse will end its life as a supernova, possibly in the next million years or so. Although it’s unlikely, it is possible that this unusual behaviour could be indicative of pre-supernova behaviour. When Betelgeuse does go supernova, it will outshine the Moon and be visible in the daytime.

The chances of Betelgeuse going supernova in our lifetime is slim, however, it does pay to keep an eye on Betelgeuse’s behaviour, just in case!