The red supergiant star Betelgeuse is nearing the end of its life, and researchers are preparing for what it will look like when the star dies in a fiery explosion called a supernova. Located in the constellation Orion, the star is about 1,000 times the size of the sun. Betelgeuse’s brightness has been dipping to the lowest point in the past 100 years, and some scientists have suggested that the star is getting close to running out of fuel and going supernova.
In a new study, researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have modeled the stellar explosions that occur when pulsating supergiants like Betelgeuse die, showing the expected brightness of these supernovas, according to a statement from the university.
“We wanted to know what it looks like if a pulsating star explodes at different phases of pulsation,” Jared Goldberg, lead author of the study and a physics graduate student at UC Santa Barbara, said in the statement. “Earlier models are simpler because they don’t include the time-dependent effects of pulsations.