Betelgeuse Is Dimming

“ You are made and sent here to give voice to this, your astonishment.“

Annie Dillard
The Orion Constellation (Earthsky.org)

Betelgeuse? Don’t you mean Beetlejuice, the movie? No, I’m talking about the red supergiant star in the constellation Orion. It is usually the 10th brightest star in the night sky. It has dimmed to around #25 and has caused quite a stir in astronomy this month. Whether Betelgeuse is shrinking, dimmed by a giant sunspot, or clouded by an extrusion of stardust is anyone’s guess at the moment. What’s interesting is that when it eventually goes supernova, everyone in the world will be able to see it even though the star is 642.5 light years away! It will shine as bright as the half-moon for more than three months.

Did you know that all of the light coming from the stars is “old” light? You are not seeing the actual light that is being created at the time of your observation. In other words, you are observing light that was emitted from Betelgeuse created 642.5 years ago in the year 1378. Does that mess with your categories? There is far more going on all around us then we could possibly comprehend.

istock.com

When was the last time that you went outside at night and observed the night sky? Not peeked at the stars on your way to the grocery store but stood there for some time in amazement and wonder. It’s actually quite good for you! It forces you to slow down and be still. Challenges you to contemplate ideas bigger than life as we usually know it. It fosters imagination and inspiration. It connects you with nature and it’s Creator. Experiencing awe is a positive and healthy emotion and…It’s free!

For small creatures such as we, the vastness ( of the universe) is bearable only through love.”

Carl Sagan(astronomer)

Astronomer Natalie Batalha has had a lifetime of a continuous, ardent search for exoplanets- planets similar to earth with liquid water which could possibly foster life. “Studying science, you step out of planet earth. You look back at this blue sphere and you see a world without borders”. We all share the same humanity. Together we are traveling at 67,000 mph around the sun. We are all in this together. Remember that we are dust and to dust we shall return. But we have a hope! We are intimately loved by the creator of this mysterious grandeur that we know as the universe… and it’s astonishing!!

The Blue Planet

For Encouragement and Refreshment

Contact (Opening Scene) – THIS WILL BLOW YOU AWAY!!!

App – Night Sky

PBS – The Elegant Universe

On Being – Astronomer Natalie Batalha

Only the Good Stuff: Multivitamins for Your Weekend