Betelgeuse Star Will Quickly Disappear December 11

The brilliant star Betelgeuse, a distinguished member of the Orion constellation, is ready to be occulted by the asteroid Leona on December 11. This prevalence, anticipated to final not more than 10 seconds, will trigger the star to quickly vanish from sight, a phenomenon seen alongside a slender path on Earth.

The fascinating event is predicted within the night time sky on Tuesday, December 11 at roughly 8:17 p.m. ET (Wednesday, December 12 at 00:17 UT). This uncommon occultation will render Betelgeuse, one of many brightest stars within the sky, invisible or not less than vastly dimmed for a number of seconds. Betelgeuse, also referred to as Alpha Orionis, is a significant factor of the Orion constellation, marking the hunter’s crimson proper shoulder.

The trail of totality, the place the occultation can be observable, stretches throughout a slender band beginning close to Guadalajara, Mexico, and extends via south Florida, the Bahamas, southern components of Spain and Italy, via to areas in Greece, Turkey, and central Asia. Lasting for almost 18 minutes, the occultation will begin at 8:08 p.m. ET and finish at 8:26 p.m. ET (December 12 at 01:08:23 UT to 01:26:00 UT).

The expected path across Europe and central Asia. The telescope icons indicate observatories signed up to observe the occultation.

The occultation is predicted throughout an exceptionally tight and restricted band, so just a few areas on Earth can be aware about the spectacle. However don’t fret should you don’t reside alongside this path: The Virtual Telescope 2.0 challenge, primarily based in southern Italy, will livestream the occasion, which it’s making obtainable on the feed beneath.

The extraordinarily uncommon Betelgeuse occultation by asteroid (319) Leona: on-line occasion – 12 Dec. 2023

This occasion isn’t solely a deal with for stargazers but additionally a major alternative for scientists. Betelgeuse, a crimson supergiant roughly 550 light-years from Earth, is known for its measurement, luminosity, and a penchant for confusing astronomers with sudden and unpredictable drops in brightness. Its classification as a semi-regular variable star and its eventual fate as a supernova make it a topic of avid curiosity within the astronomical neighborhood. The upcoming occultation gives a novel likelihood to watch and perceive the habits and traits of such an enormous star.

Associated article: A Dusty Burp Could Explain Mysterious Dimming of Supergiant Star Betelgeuse

Astronomers additionally anticipate gaining insights into the outer main-belt asteroid Leona. The occasion will present helpful knowledge concerning Leona’s measurement, form, composition, potential environment, and even the presence of any tiny moons. Current observations have already refined our understanding of Leona, revealing its barely elliptical form reasonably than the beforehand assumed spherical kind. Present estimates have Leona at being almost 31 miles (50 kilometers) huge, nevertheless it could possibly be as massive as 42 miles (68 kilometers) huge. The upcoming occultation ought to additional tighten these estimates.

All these occultations “are very helpful to constrain the form of the asteroid concerned,” Gianluca Masi, an astronomer on the Digital Telescope 2.0 challenge in Italy, defined in an e mail. “Right here, we hope to even examine the floor of the concerned star, too: Betelgeuse. It’s a massive crimson supergiant and whereas Leona will transfer in entrance of it as seen from Earth, we can be hopefully capable of be taught extra about its massive convective cells, driving its variable brightness.”

As Masi notes, the occultation may show pivotal in understanding Betelgeuse’s massive convection cells, which affect its brightness and must be observable because the asteroid strikes throughout the star’s disk. These cells differ from these on the Solar by their longevity and measurement, doubtlessly lasting for years and probably taking part in a key function within the star’s noticed mass loss, Miguel Montargè, an astronomer on the Paris Observatory, advised Sky & Telescope.

Views of the occultation, significantly if Betelgeuse is bigger than Leona from our viewpoint, may resemble an annular eclipse with the star not absolutely coated. If smaller, a short interval of “totality” could possibly be noticed. Astronomers advocate that each beginner {and professional} observers use specialised tools and strategies, akin to totally different colour filters and light-weight spectrum evaluation, to seize the occasion’s nuances.

Regardless of enhancements in predictive knowledge, the precise path of Leona’s shadow carries some uncertainty, including a component of shock to this celestial phenomenon. So even should you’re outdoors the anticipated path of the eclipse, you would possibly wish to take the time to lookup on December 11, if merely to understand Betelgeuse and its place within the Orion constellation.

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