March 14, 2021 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Online via Google Meet
George Doschek
Monthly Meeting - The Mysterious Great Dimming of Betelgeuse @ Online via Google Meet

The Mysterious Great Dimming of Betelgeuse

Dr. Andrea Dupree, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian

Sunday, March 14, 2021
7:30 PM
 to 9:00 PM EST

Online event


The bright cool supergiant Betelgeuse became historically faint a little over one year ago in early February 2020. Various explanations have been offered for its unusual behavior – including conjectures this foreshadows an imminent supernova event. Direct imaging, spatially resolved spectroscopy, polarization measures, infrared, optical and ultraviolet spectra and more help us to unravel what happened to the star. The current state of the star as well as new results from spectroscopic observations with HST will be reported in advance of the next optical minimum expected this spring.


Andrea Dupree is an astrophysicist and currently the Head of the Solar, Stellar, Planetary Sciences Division at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian in Cambridge, MA. This is the largest research institute for astronomy and astrophysics in the world. She is also a past-President of the American Astronomical Society. Her research interests focus on stars and how they form and evolve, particularly employing spectroscopic techniques for analysis. Andrea has been studying Betelgeuse for a long time – especially from satellites to observe the ultraviolet radiation from the outer layers of the star. She led the team that obtained the first image of a star other than the Sun – Betelgeuse – using the Hubble Space Telescope.