Geminids and Betelgeuse

1 month 2 weeks ago #108037 by Fermidox
Geminids and Betelgeuse was created by Fermidox
Took some 200 photos in clear skies around midnight but only captured one Geminid...



of course the bright moon parked in the middle of Gemini was no help... reports from America suggest the rates may have picked up in the early hours. 

What was interesting however was the faintness of Betelgeuse, now at its dimmest in more than 50 years. The difference in comparison with Rigel from previous years was obvious with the naked eye, and indeed it seemed almost more comparable with Bellatrix to the right. A recent official measurement put it at mag 1.12



Clear skies,
Finbarr.
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1 month 2 weeks ago #108038 by flt158
Replied by flt158 on topic Geminids and Betelgeuse
That is most interesting about Betelgeuse, Finbarr.
So it was as faint as this some 50 years ago.
Of course some people will think it is about to go supernova.
But maybe it won't!
That's why we must keep an eye on it over the coming months.

I'm glad you saw 1 Geminid.
On Friday night 6th December I saw 2 and I was not looking for any.

Clear skies,

Aubrey.
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1 month 2 weeks ago #108041 by Paul Evans
Replied by Paul Evans on topic Geminids and Betelgeuse
Yes I noticed Betelgeuse last night when I got home from work close to midnight. Of course it was bathed in moonlight but by comparison with Rigel and Bellatrix I estimated it at between 1.0 and 1.2. In recent years I've rated it much closer to Rigel. Does anyone know if dimming is a precursor of going Supernova? I guess the empirical evidence is a bit thin on the ground :)

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1 month 2 weeks ago #108042 by Fermidox
Replied by Fermidox on topic Geminids and Betelgeuse
I was just going to mention that Paul; I don't suppose there is anything in the textbook to help us prepare for a Supernova! I'd imagine there would more erratic spells of variability but who knows, maybe it will just detonate at a moment's notice. I'm not sure if it was equally faint 50 years ago Aubrey, I think this was the time span of measurements available to those particular researchers -

www.astronomerstelegram.org/?read=13341

Finbarr.
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1 month 2 days ago - 1 month 2 days ago #108083 by stevie
Replied by stevie on topic Geminids and Betelgeuse
I noticed that Betelgeuse seemed markedly dimmer on Xmas Eve

Here is a very interesting and informative article about this subject

www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/201...OnQnAY4#62cfb66647bf

stevie

Secretary NIAAS
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1 month 2 days ago #108084 by Paul Evans
Replied by Paul Evans on topic Geminids and Betelgeuse
I talked a bit about Betelgeuse in my warmup talk to the IAA last Wednesday. You can see it here... 

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1 month 2 days ago #108085 by flt158
Replied by flt158 on topic Geminids and Betelgeuse
That's a great astronomical association, Paul.
It sure is well run by yourself and Terry.
Let's hope 2020 is just as great for all who attend!

We had better keep an eye on Betelgeuse for the first 5 months of 2020!

Clear skies,

Aubrey.
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1 month 2 days ago #108086 by Paul Evans
Replied by Paul Evans on topic Geminids and Betelgeuse
Thanks Aubrey! Actually Terry does much more of the work than me - I  just talk when required and look after the website:)  And do the odd bit of video production as you see :) 

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2 weeks 1 day ago #108161 by Fermidox
Replied by Fermidox on topic Geminids and Betelgeuse
If it was my first time looking at the stars, I would say Betelgeuse has been less prominent than Bellatrix for the last couple of nights. But the 'official' estimates are still saying mag 1.4 or 5, so still a tad brighter. Perhaps our preconceived notions are telling us that Betelgeuse 'should' be brighter. Maybe I need to ask someone who's not seen either of them before...

Finbarr.
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2 weeks 1 day ago #108163 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Replied by Until_then-Goodnight! on topic Geminids and Betelgeuse
Hi Finbarr, 

That's an interesting idea about asking someone who is not aware of the difference in magnitude between the two stars. So, if you do ask someone who fits the bill, I'd be keen to hear their response.

Clear skies, 

Darren. 
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2 weeks 17 hours ago #108166 by Fermidox
Replied by Fermidox on topic Geminids and Betelgeuse
There are two estimates on the AAVSO from last night of mag 1.2 and the next estimate is 1.6... that's about a 25% difference! And there's even a 1.7 which is fainter than Bellatrix. The wide variety is quite surprising, considering a reasonable level of expertise is assumed before submitting to the AAVSO I would have thought.
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2 weeks 14 hours ago #108167 by Paul Evans
Replied by Paul Evans on topic Geminids and Betelgeuse
Here's a photo I took on Sat evening. Now there's some haze involved and I deliberately threw the focus off to try and get a better indication of brightness. I adjusted the black level until the stars disappeared and the last two stars to go were Rigel and Bellatrix. Betelgeuse disappeared at about the same black level as the three belt stars so that puts it in th range 1.6-2.1. One thing I'm not sure of which makes it a difficult call is that of course Betelgeuse is not the same colour as any of the other stars in Orion.

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2 weeks 12 hours ago #108168 by Fermidox
Replied by Fermidox on topic Geminids and Betelgeuse
And one from an hour ago Paul. Generally my DSLR enhances the brightness of red stars, but it looks about equal to Bellatrix here. And once more, fainter with the naked eye.



Finbarr.
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1 week 4 days ago #108181 by flt158
Replied by flt158 on topic Geminids and Betelgeuse

Fermidox wrote: There are two estimates on the AAVSO from last night of mag 1.2 and the next estimate is 1.6... that's about a 25% difference! And there's even a 1.7 which is fainter than Bellatrix. The wide variety is quite surprising, considering a reasonable level of expertise is assumed before submitting to the AAVSO I would have thought.


Hi Finbarr. 

I reckon there are some people who are not very good at estimating magnitudes of variable stars.  
They simply are not being advised to compare Betelgeuse with other important bright stars which are nearby. Bellatrix is the obvious one to start with. Castor and Pollux are also good - as are Aldebaran, Elnath and Alhena. 

Amateur astronomers need to compare all these stars when Orion has a good altitude somewhere high in the the southern sky.   

But do keep checking Betelgeuse over the coming months, Finbarr. 

Clear skies, 

Aubrey. 
 
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1 week 3 days ago #108186 by Fermidox
Replied by Fermidox on topic Geminids and Betelgeuse
Last night was the clearest for a while Aubrey, and I had it marginally brighter than Bellatrix. There is something called the 'Purkinje effect' which makes stars appear artificially bright if you stare too long at them; I think I might be falling prey to that... I did my manage to snag my 31st comet, C/2017 T2 PanStarrs, at an estimated mag of 9.3 in Perseus. It's already passed by closest approach to Earth but could reach mag 8 around perihelion in May.

Finbarr. 
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1 week 3 days ago #108187 by flt158
Replied by flt158 on topic Geminids and Betelgeuse
Yes, there is always the Purkinje Effect, Finbarr.
But then there are some "petrified" amateurs who are so frightened to estimate a variable star they decide to give these stars a much lower magnitude.
I have spoken about that on Cloudy Nights.
Some agreed with my point.
I am of the persuasion that owners of apochromatic refractors have less reasons to be scared of Purkinje.
Just go with the flow and do our estimates freely without any stress.
Sure it's all fun!

By the way, I am feeling much better today of my recent dose.

Clear skies,

Aubrey.
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