Is Betelgeuse faint?
There have been a domestic "breaking news" stating that Betelgeuse is extremely faint. I received this news both electronically and by a snail mail. The news tells that the star is the *faintest* in the past decade. The news has been widely relayed throughout the astronomical community in this country, and is becoming "a big news" -- just like a naked-eye discovery of a bright nova -- some people indeed confirmed the claimed fading (but the others have not). We even received a report today that Betelgeuse has dramatically faded to a second-magnitude star(!). [There is even a rumor that the star may disappear...?]
Although I haven't had a chance to check its magnitude, is the star this faint? Perhaps we need to follow the object even in daytime before the star completely fades away .. ;-)
Regards, Taichi Kato
Just stepped outside and it was easy to see midway through civil twilight (sky still blue) that Betelgeuse looks normal. Even through clouds it is very much brighter than the Belt stars and gamma Ori (V=1.64).
I just went and did a visual estimate and would put it at about 1.1 to 1.2. It appeared about as bright as Pollux, but it was at 20 degree vs. 50 degrees for Pollux so maybe 1.0 at the brightest. It looked brighter than Elnath (1.6) and brighter than Alhena (1.9) but much less bright than Saturn (0.11). This was from suburban light pollution.
I think this supports the notion it is fainter?
> Although I haven't had a chance to check its magnitude, is the star > this faint? Perhaps we need to follow the object even in daytime before > the star completely fades away .. ;-);-)) This is a good one! Yes, Betelgeuse is the faintest I have seen it since I started observing back in 1994, but it's still brighter than its 1.3 recorded extreme minimum. This is an extract from my records of this fading. This is a good chance to express how different it is to display a lightcurve with data to 2 decimal places instead of only one, specially for small amplitude variables. All my records show 2 decimal places although I only report a few naked eye stars this way to vsnet.
Betelgeuse's fading: 2685.520 0.62 2695.531 0.67 2696.490 0.71 2701.472 0.74 2703.516 0.77 2711.480 0.80 2715.494 0.84 2716.477 0.85 2719.476 0.86 2721.472 0.86 2726.499 0.91 2729.472 0.93 2737.480 0.98 2739.456 1.01 2740.450 1.02 2744.486 0.98 2746.443 0.98Not a second magnitude star!!!!!
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