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The red giant star Betelgeuse is closer than we thought — will its explosion affect earth?

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Betelgeuse is one of the best-known stars in the night sky, as well as the easiest to find. New examinations of this behemoth star suggest it is both smaller — and closer — than astronomers believed.

This red giant star will, one day, explode as a supernova. However, it is challenging to determine when the eruption will take place. In addition to new measurements of the star’s size and distance, this new study from Australian National University (ANU) suggests the star is not likely to erupt for 100,000 years.

Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betel… don’t say it!

At the end of 2019, Betelgeuse appeared to dim significantly as seen from Earth. Researchers eventually determined the dimming was the result of material being ejected from Betelgeuse, which cooled, absorbing light from much of the star. A similar dimming was seen again this year, but the cause of this recent event may not be the same as last time.

“It’s normally one of the brightest stars in the sky, but we’ve observed two drops in the brightness of Betelgeuse since late 2019. This prompted speculation it could be about to explode. But our study offers a different explanation. We know the first dimming event involved a dust cloud. We found the second smaller event was likely due to the pulsations of the star,” Dr. Meridith Joyce from The Australian National University (ANU) explains.

[Read: NASA’s robot is about to land on asteroid Bennu to unlock the secrets of life]

Where’s the Earth-shattering ka-boom?

“Let’s turn on the juice and see what shakes loose.” — Beetlejuice

Stars fuse (meld together) various elements, depending on their age and mass. By studying movements (like sound waves) on the surface of the star suggest Betelgeuse is still fusing helium. That would mean that the star is not close (on a human timescale) to erupting as a supernova.

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Even at the smaller diameter found in this new study, Betelgeuse would easily swallow all the inner planets in our Solar System out to Mars. Image credit: The Cosmic Companion / Created in Unniverse Sandbox

Earlier observations found that, if placed at the center of our solar system, the massive star Betelgeuse would stretch out beyond the orbit of Jupiter. This new study finds its body would only reach around two-thirds that distance, roughly 765 times the diameter of the Sun.

Based on this size of the stars, astronomers determined Betelgeuse sits just 530 light-years from Earth — about 25% closer than expected.

In the video below, take a look at the strange happenings on Betelgeuse with Dr. Andrea Dupree from the Center for Astrophysics. (Video credit: The Cosmic Companion)

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“It’s still a really big deal when a supernova goes off. And this is our closest candidate. It gives us a rare opportunity to study what happens to stars like this before they explode,” Joyce stated.

If Betelgeuse were too close to Earth, the eventual supernova could cause an extinction here on Earth. However, even at 530 light-years distance, our planet will still be safe from the eventual explosion.

Skywatchers observing Betelgeuse should also keep an eye (or two!) out for the Orionid meteor shower in the same region of the sky, peaking on the nights of October 20 and 21.

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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