Episode 181: Reports of Betelgeuse’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated, with Emily Levesque

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Feature Guest: Emily Levesque

In December 2019, amateur and professional astronomers held their breath as the red supergiant Betelgeuse started dimming beyond anything on record, a sign the behemoth might be preparing to go supernova. But over the ensuing few months, things seemed to be returning to normal for this fascinating star. To solve the mystery, a team set out to investigate this bizarre behaviour and to shed light on the fate of Betelgeuse. Today we’re joined here at the Star Spot by Emily Levesque to discuss their findings. 


Current in Space

A supergiant haul of stories this week. First Camilla reports on the largest ozone hole ever seen over North Pole. Then Jeff shares evidence of an elusive mid-sized black hole. And Anshool brings news of many more satellite galaxies around the Milky Way. Followed by Amelia and Priyanka’s obituary on the passing of astronomer Margaret Burbidge. Finally Joseph updates us on the proposed mission to Enceladus.

About Our Guest

Emily Levesque is Assistant Professor of Astronomy at the University of Washington. Previously she worked as a Post Doc at the University of Colorado, during which she held Einstein and Hubble Fellowships. She is a recipient of the Sloan Fellowship and the Annie Jump Cannon Award. Her work focuses on massive stars and galaxy formation.


Betelgeuse Just Isn’t That Cool: Effective Temperature Alone Cannot Explain the Recent Dimming of Betelgeuse (Emily M. Levesque, Philip Massey) (Scholarly article)

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