New images show Betelgeuse is dimming and changing shape

Perhaps right now Betelgeuse is the most famous star in the world. For months the star has caught the attention of astronomers and have tantalised our imaginations with a hope that we might see a supernova explosion in our lifetime. Since then it has been cleared the chance of the star exploding soon is very low, never the less the star is destined to explode within a couple of 1000 years.

The mystery surrounding the star doesn’t seem to ever stop. The new images captured by astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope currently show that the star is only at 36% of its normal brightness. The star is not only dimming, but it also appears to be changing shape.

Betelgeuse used to be one of the brightest stars in the  Orion constellation. The dimming has been observed since last December. Technically Betelgeuse is a variable star, meaning it dims its brightness for a while and brings it back up.

But this time around, since December it has kept on dimming without ever-increasing the brightness. The mystery yet again brings back the possibility that the star might go supernova soon. Unfortunately, there is no way by which we can confirm this. The current plan is to keep observing the star and update the Astronomers Telegram regarding any update.

If the star indeed goes supernova, it will be a spectacle of our lifetime. Astronomers say that it will appear as bright as the full moon in our sky and will remain that way for weeks before declining in brightness. It will stay visible with the naked eye for at least six months.

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