Betelgeuse is one of the brightest and most unusual stars in the sky, but we don’t know much about it yet. However, now, with the passage of an asteroid and with the help of astronomers in specific locations around the world, we can finally learn more about the star.
This difficulty is due to the fact that the brightest parts of the star interfere with observations. But now, with asteroid 319 Leona passing in front of Betelgeuse and briefly blocking its light on December 12, 2023, we’ll be able to learn more.
An estimated 94% of Betelgeuse’s light will be blocked as the asteroid passes by, making it look like a normal star for a few minutes. When this happens we will be able to map convection cells better than ever before.
Right places to observe the Betelgeuse occultation
The problem is that from Earth this occultation can be seen from a few places, most of them over the North Atlantic and Mediterranean. For this reason, scientists have asked amateur astronomers for help, so that observations can be carried out in as many places as possible.
The December event is so important that in September a group of researchers carried out a study from 319 Leona. They observed the asteroid passing in front of another, smaller and more common star, to better understand its orbit and the places from which Betelgeuse’s occultation would be visible.
For December 13, researchers are afraid only because they do not know the precise position of Betelgeuse in the sky. This is because the Gaia telescope ends up being obscured by brighter stars. However, astronomers are struggling to solve this problem, to know exactly where they will need to be during the occultation.
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Source: Olhar Digital
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