Japan Team Uses Weather Satellite to Solve Betelgeuse Mystery

Science Society

Tokyo, May 31 (Jiji Press)--A Japanese team said Tuesday that it has used weather satellite images to look into the cause of the recent dimming of Betelgeuse, a red supergiant star in the Orion constellation.

Betelgeuse underwent the so-called Great Dimming between late 2019 and the beginning of 2020, becoming faintest on record at one point. Some speculated that the dimming indicated the star's supernova explosion was imminent, but its brightness recovered later.

It is believed that the Great Dimming was caused by a drop in the surface temperature of Betelgeuse and an increase in the dust that was created from gas emitted from the star, which blocked out some of its light.

But this theory was not fully proven as continuous monitoring using intermediate infrared rays is necessary to measure the amount of the dust in question.

The team of University of Tokyo researchers, including doctoral student Daisuke Taniguchi, found that stars and other celestial bodies are seen near Earth in images captured by Japan's Himawari-8 weather satellite.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press