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Here’s another exciting update on super giant star Betelgeuse

Betelgeuse appears in the upper left. (Wikimedia Commons Photo/Rogelio Bernal Andreo)

With all the news coming from the world of astronomy, one story has so many people around the world interested in what will happen next with the super giant star known as Betelgeuse.

As I reported here earlier, the star Betelgeuse has been dimming in the night sky for the past six months at a very steady pace.

No one really knows why the star is doing this and many feel that this might be the preshow to the eventual final days of Betelgeuse and on to its collapse as a supernova!

The current magnitude of the star is now around +1.60 or +1.7, depending on who you talk to.

While this may seem like useless trivia to many, those in the world of astronomy feel that the recent images taken with the Very Large Telescope or (VLT) in Chile, reveal that the latest images of Betelgeuse show the star is lopsided and has some type of dust layer obscuring the region around it.

Here is what the images reveal.

Here is a secondary image in the infrared region of the spectrum, revealing a much larger and deeper view of the area surrounding the star.

There is a great window of opportunity for you to view this star with the naked eye on every clear evening in late February and early March.

Just look for Orion the Hunter high in the southeast sky around 8 p.m. Arizona time.

Betelgeuse is the star that is on the top left of the constellation and appears orange to the naked eye.

To give you a better perspective on this super giant star, here we have an illustration of just how large the star is, relative to the planets in our solar system.

Astronomers feel that there is a line in the sand with Betelgeuse with regards to if and when something will happen with the star. February 21st, is the date that astronomers think one of the known variability periods of the star could end.

At that time, the star may brighten; but if it does not, then the star may be telling us something different.

Just what that is exactly, no one knows for sure!

Betelgeuse is known to be near the end of its 8 to 10 million year life cycle. If that comes during our lifetime, we may be witness to one of the most amazing stellar explosions, which actually would have occurred some 650 years ago Betelgeuse time.

It could flare up to the brilliance of the full moon and shine for many, many months.

Wow, what a sight that would be!

Here is the simulated image of what Betelgeuse might look like.

Locate many other great objects in the night sky, with this great gallery.

To print your very own star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to Dr. Sky on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.

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