Caption: These images show the surface of the red supergiant star Betelgeuse during its unprecedented dimming, which happened in late 2019 and early 2020. The image on the far left, taken in January 2019, shows the star at its normal brightness, while the remaining images, from December 2019, January 2020, and March 2020, were all taken when the star’s brightness had noticeably dropped, especially in its southern region.
When Betelgeuse, a bright orange star in the constellation of Orion, lost more than two-thirds of its brightness in late 2019 and early 2020, astronomers were puzzled.
What could cause such an abrupt dimming?
Now, in a new paper published Wednesday in Nature, an international team of astronomers reveal two never-before-seen images of the mysterious darkening —and an explanation. The dimming was caused by a dusty veil shading the star, which resulted from a drop in temperature on Betelgeu...