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The Betelgeuse Star – Part Of The Orion Constellation – Regains Its Shine After Brief Dimming

This image of the Betelgeuse star is a color composite made from exposures from the Digitized Sky Survey 2 (DSS2). Acknowledgment: Davide De Martin. ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2.
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In Hollywood, stars come and go. But the Betelgeuse (pronounced “beetlejuice”) star is real, and in the world of astronomy, it’s famous.

“The star itself is enormous,” said Luisa Rebull, associate research scientist at Caltech-IPAC. “If we were to plop it in the center of our solar system, it would encompass everything out to Jupiter.”

Late last year, astronomers noticed the star – which is one of the largest, easiest, and most remarkable stars to spot – dimming with no explanation, which led them to believe Betelgeuse's days were numbered.

But this week, the star began to brighten once again. Rebull says there are some theories about what may have happened.

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“Betelgeuse has a lot of things that are oscillating in it,” she said. “It may be that several of these frequencies have lined up to be faint. The other thing that could go on is... it's producing dust in its atmosphere, so it might have just coughed.”

The star is between 8 million and 10 million years old, and while it will probably die young, it won't happen in our lifetime. Rebull estimates that Betelgeuse still has a couple hundred thousand years left.