Betelgeuse, the closest red giant to Earth, has long been understood to move between brighter and dimmer in 400-day cycles. But from late 2019 to early 2020, it underwent what astrophysicists called “the great dimming”, as a dust cloud obscured our view of the star.
Now, it is glowing at 150% of its normal brightness, and is cycling between brighter and dimmer at 200-day intervals – twice as fast as usual…It is currently the seventh brightest star in the night sky – up three places from its usual tenth brightest.https://www.theguardian.com/science/2023/may/26/its-new-territory’s-why-is-betelgeuse-is-glowing-so-brightly-and-behaving-so-strangely?
Betelgeuse is the closet red giant Star to our solar system, one of the shoulders of the Greek constellation of Orion.
The cultural information in the linked article was actually more interesting than the phenomenon observed. For instance, the fact that an Aboriginal people in Australia saw it long before the Greeks did was something I didn’t know.
(Although ancient humans in what is now Germany apparently carved an image of it around 32,000 years ago…)
And that the Greek name comes originally from the Arabic “bat al-jawzāʾ” meaning “giant’s shoulder.”
And all three cultures saw the star as connected with fire held by a giant hunter of some sort.
And so have ancient Babylonians, Egyptians, and probably everyone else, too. We just can’t help personifying even the stars.
When it does eventually explode, it could – over the course of a week – grow so bright that it will be visible during daylight, and cast shadows at night.
Now that’s something I’d like to be around to see. Hmm. If only I could manage to live for another 10- to 100,000 years…