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The image travels at the speed of light (since it's light), and the energy travels at the speed of light too, actually light is a form of energy, though there are also other forms of energy outside the visible spectrum, all of which travel at the speed of light. So everything we see on a star 640 light years away happened 640 years ago.
originally posted by: FlyingSquirrel
Something about the speed of light? I don't know. Can we detect its energy in real time while only being able to view the image from the past?
At minimum brightness, as in 1927 and 1941, the magnitude may drop below 1.2, a change of light intensity of about 2 times.
The variations of Alpha Orionis, which were most striking and unequivocal in the years 1836--1840, within the years since elapsed became much less conspicuous...
originally posted by: Riffrafter
Betelgeuse has been very volatile lately, and astronomers are watching to determine if it's terminal or just going through a phase.
Although it would probably look spectacular, I'd hate to see Betelgeuse go if for no other reason than I love the name.
Seriously, it's one of the most recognizable stars in our sky...