The sudden dimming of one of the Milky Way’s brightest stars, Betelgeuse, could be due to a dust cloud spewing up from its surface, astronomers said on Thursday.
The mystery has enthralled skywatchers since the star — part of the Orion constellation — began to lose luminosity last October, with some experts suggesting it could herald its explosion into a supernova.
But researchers working with the Hubble telescope now have a clearer picture, seeing superhot plasma being unleashed from the star’s surface, cooling in the outer layers of the atmosphere and eventually turning to dust.
“The resulting cloud blocked light from about a quarter of the star’s surface,” the European Space Agency said in a statement, adding that the star has since returned to its normal brightness.
“With Hubble, we see the material as it left the star’s visible surface and moved out through the atmosphere, before the dust formed that caused the star to appear to dim,” said lead researcher Andrea Dupree of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in the United States.
“We could see the effect of a dense, hot region in the southeast part of the star moving outward.”
The researchers, due to publish their findings in The Astrophysical Journal, said they were not sure of the ultimate cause of the plasma eruption.
Betelgeuse, almost 1,000 times the size of the Sun, is 725 light years from Earth, meaning the event witnessed by the telescope happened around the beginning of the 14th century.
© 2020 AFP
KKK-linked flyers asking people to ‘vote pro-white’ appear on doorsteps in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania police are investigating flyers that were distributed asking people to "vote pro-white" in the upcoming election, KDKA reports.
The flyers that began showing up in Greene County were reportedly linked to the Ku Klux Klan. The flyer asks people to "Kontact the experts," the Loyal White Knights, which is a KKK-affiliated group based in Pelham, North Carolina.
"Every officer here was offended and extremely motivated to find the individual passing out this information," Capt. William DeForte said.
‘You just called me a liar!’: Trump campaign official flips out after he’s fact-checked on Biden ear-piece lie
MSNBC host Ayman Mohyeldin attempted to fact-check President Donald Trump's campaign official, Steve Cortes, on the lies coming out of the campaign, but Cortes refused to back down, instead claiming that the host was calling him a "liar."
Cortes began Tuesday by joining other campaign members accusing Vice President Joe Biden of refusing to have his ears inspected by a third party to prove he's not wearing an earpiece. They falsely claimed that Biden agreed to it but then pulled back on the agreement. The Biden campaign has said that isn't true. So, Mohyeldin asked Cortes who made the agreement with the Biden team. Cortes fumbled around, saying it was "the campaign," but Mohyeldin demanded to know what the name was of the campaign official who made the agreement. Cortes said there was a "debate negotiating committee" who made all the demands. He ultimately couldn't name the name.
‘Absolutely not normal’: Senator Klobuchar slams her GOP colleagues for trying to ram through Trump’s Supreme Court nominee
During a hearing this Thursday, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) took her GOP colleagues to task over their efforts to push through a new Supreme Court nominee in the wake Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death on the eve of the 2020 election.
Klobuchar pointed out that the last time a Supreme Court justice died so close to an election was during Abraham Lincoln's presidency, adding that he "waited until the results were in" before moving forward on a replacement.
"My colleagues on the other side know that this is their last chance to allow this president to jam through another judicial appointment to the nation's highest court," she said, pointing out that their focus should be on the ongoing pandemic.