The supernova of Betelgeuse is one of the most awaited astronomical events. Betelgeuse is a red supergiant star on its deathbed in the constellation of Orion. Sooner or later, the star will implode, and our skies will be lit with the aftermath of the event even during the daytime for several weeks. However, no one exactly knows when the star will undergo a supernova. There’s a probability that Betelgeuse has already imploded, but since it lies about 650 light years away, the light from that event hasn’t reached us yet.
Betelgeuse is one of the brightest stars in the night sky. But in late 2019, it mysteriously started dimming. The dimming was so prominent that one could even notice it with naked eyes. The star’s brightness continued to decrease for several months, and people wondered if Betelgeuse’s end had arrived. However, the red supergiant star returned to its normal brightness after a few months. When astronomers pointed some of the world’s most powerful telescopes at it, they were shocked to see what caused the Great Dimming.
So what happened to the star when it was fading before our eyes? Why was this event so catastrophic for Betelgeuse? Finally, and most importantly, why do astronomers want to focus the James Webb Space Telescope on this dying star?