Blue Dot: BETELGEUSE: MYSTERY OF A DIMMING SUPERGIANT (5/9/2020)

Playlist for Show: Blue Dot

Host: Dave Schlom

Even casual observers of the night sky are familiar with the winter constellation Orion. It’s two brightest stars, Rigel and Betelgeuse and its three belt stars make it an easy one to spot. But one of them has dimmed dramatically in recent months, the red supergiant star Betelgeuse. The dimming led to rampant speculation that the star, nearly 700 light years from Earth, may be about to explode into the ultimate cosmic fireworks show — a supernova that would be visible in the daytime sky. But is that what’s really going on? Dave talks to Spitzer Space Telescope scientist Luisa Rebull about the giant star, the life cycles of stars in general and the ending of one of NASA’s Great Observatories — Spitzer.

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