One massive nearby star, Betelgeuse, has been suddenly dimming, which means it could be on the verge of exploding. Astronomy professor Ed Guinan at Villanova University, who was the lead author on a December 8 paper entitled “The Fainting of the Nearby Supergiant Betelgeuse,” said the star has been declining in brightness sharply since October, and is now about 2.5 times fainter than usual. Read more for a video and additional information.
If Betelgeuse should burn down to an iron core, which won’t fuse, that core would collapse rapidly, leading to a supernova. That means that the red supergiant would glow a vibrant blue for up to four months, and would take an entire year to fade out, making it visible even during the daytime. Fortunately, there won’t be any direct threat to life on earth, but the UV radiation from the celestial explosion could scorch ozone in the Earth’s atmosphere.
I personally think it’s going to bounce back, but it’s fun to watch stars change. If it continues dimming, then all bets are off,” said Guinan.