Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, BOOM

Monster variable red supergiant Betelgeuse now may be officially behaving..."weird". By "now" I mean it was maybe officially behaving weird approximately 650 years ago and we're just seeing it now, I just want to get that necessary disclaimer out of the way to avoid the inevitable "it's 650ly away, this happened 650 years ago and we're only seeing it now" post. Either way, I'm speaking in present tense, eat it and eat it raw.

If you haven't heard, Betelgeuse dimmed to nearly one-third its normal luminosity over the past month. It's a variable star, it does that. What makes this anomalous, is it's dimmer than usual, and it's been dimmer longer than usual. We've known for a while Betelgeuse is at the end of its approximately 10 million-year lifespan, and is due to pop at some time in the next hundred thousand years.

By "pop" I mean it's going to go supernova, and it's big enough and close enough the supernova will be as bright as the Moon for approximately a month. It's far enough away it poses no threat, but it's close enough when it goes we'll have a few hours' advance notice in the form of a monster neutrino burst we can't possibly miss.

It's no guarantee this is about to happen. Discussion is being heavily disclaimed with "it does this"; it could be a longer or deeper cycle than usual, a convergence of cycles, or some change in its cycles as it approaches death. Or aliens building the universe's stupidest Dyson sphere around it. "ZOMG Beetlejuice gonna asplode!" article blasts have hit the net before, and it could be nothing. If it starts brightening in the next week or two, back to business as usual. Even if this is the star's death rattle, it may not happen any time soon.

But it's still something to keep an eye on, if you're not already.

Betelgeuse behaving weird?

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Lies and slander!

It's got to last another few hundred years, I visited it in Elite: Dangerous.

If you play E:D and haven't, go check it out. It's not Sagittarius A* level of weird and amazing, but... holy shit it's big.

Agema:
It's got to last another few hundred years, I visited it in Elite: Dangerous.

If you play E:D and haven't, go check it out. It's not Sagittarius A* level of weird and amazing, but... holy shit it's big.

I mean, been there, done that...what irks me is you don't really get a sense of scale visually, you have to mind the distances and speeds on the HUD. Betelgeuse doesn't look any bigger or smaller than VY Canis Majoris, or even any red giants or dwarves in the game. You can't get close enough to notice a difference due to thermal radiation, but at the same time you're far enough away supercruise scaling kicks in and you can't notice a difference just due to how fast you're moving.

Might be fun to see in the night sky. Definiatly going to love it when Nova covers it on PBS.

Eacaraxe:

I mean, been there, done that...what irks me is you don't really get a sense of scale visually, you have to mind the distances and speeds on the HUD. Betelgeuse doesn't look any bigger or smaller than VY Canis Majoris, or even any red giants or dwarves in the game.

Fair enough if you didn't get that sense, but it seemed properly huge to me.

Make a real mess of Orion if it pops, too. It's one of the most distinctive constellations.

It would be awesome if we got to see a supernova with the naked eye within our lifetime tho. Last time that happened was over 400 years ago.

Agema:
Fair enough if you didn't get that sense, but it seemed properly huge to me.

Make a real mess of Orion if it pops, too. It's one of the most distinctive constellations.

It sure was good fuel scoopin' though.

My faves are still Wolf-Rayet stars though. Nothing like your ship turning into a pressure cooker the moment you pop out of hyperspace. One of the big reasons I miss my DBX like crazy; AspX is still my favorite exploration ship, but it runs a little toasty for my preference on long trips.

Also the absolute batshit neutron stars with rotations in the thousands of RPM and a rotational axis of 20-30 degrees, jump in and your FSD's supercharged before you even realize your ship's about to explode.

I haven't played since before they nerfed the crap out of FSD range, basically forcing everyone to grind guardian crap if they want a jump distance worth a damn, but I ought to get back into it. Kinda miss bounty hunting in my funship.

Eacaraxe:
It sure was good fuel scoopin' though.

For sure!

My faves are still Wolf-Rayet stars though. Nothing like your ship turning into a pressure cooker the moment you pop out of hyperspace. One of the big reasons I miss my DBX like crazy; AspX is still my favorite exploration ship, but it runs a little toasty for my preference on long trips.

I've got an Asp for explo, although my all-rounder Krait II can do okay - both have the Guardian FSD booster. Most of my ships are rigged for low heat with an efficient power plant so I don't have much trouble refuelling - I think the Asp has clean thrusters too. Miss out on some combat capability, but no big deal as I don't play open (it's a mug's game with all those griefers). My Fed Corvette doesn't have an efficient pp because it really doesn't deal well with a low power output, and that runs really hot. On the other hand, I did stick a size 5/6 fuel scoop in it, so it doesn't need long round a star. Again, never get away with that waste of space if you want PvP, but it's a nice quality of life thing for PvE.

I sort of love those stars with close-orbiting stars, and that mild rush of panic where it looks like you're going to crash right into one as you enter the system. In fact, I think years ago I did - lost about 25% of my hull from heat damage getting out.

I haven't played since Sep/Oct. Although around the end of the year, I did have a friend round and let his kid play on my account. Like many kids might, he ignored me telling him not to play in open, went to Shinrarta Dezra of all places in my FdL and got it blown up by a griefer. Ugh. At least he was good enough to admit it, and I had 900million+ in the bank so the insurance barely dented it.

Agema:
I've got an Asp for explo, although my all-rounder Krait II can do okay - both have the Guardian FSD booster. Most of my ships are rigged for low heat with an efficient power plant so I don't have much trouble refuelling - I think the Asp has clean thrusters too.

I have a friend who still plays time to time in my local RPG group, he was bragging about how proud he was to have finally gotten 50ly jump range on his AspX, which absolutely floored me because I broke 50ly without much more than a grade 5 increased range FSD and I never even ground out guardian crap. He sent me his ship's profile on Coriolis, and by all rights it should have been over 60ly. I quit before the Krait even came out; I ended up using my Asp for rares trading on the occasion I didn't feel like doing mining or bulk hauling in my Python.

What made me say "screw this" to the game was the point I was grinding wake signatures in a famine system. If you never jumped to low orbit in a BGS event like that, it's actually pretty cool...none of which actually mattering, because I was just there to grind out some random engineering resource and not actually participate in the BGS event as was clearly intended. In fact, if it wasn't for the wake signatures I'd never have seen this part of a famine event to begin with. It actually made my skin crawl and realize for myself, the gameplay loop just never changes, it's just a numbers game and all that does change is the numbers get bigger.

And, the other part of it was...

Miss out on some combat capability, but no big deal as I don't play open (it's a mug's game with all those griefers)...

The only MP I played was closed, with two friends from that gaming group. We'd wing up, and hit asteroid rings to mine and bounty hunt. We actually had a kickass setup; I had my Keelback loaded up with the actual prospecting and mining equipment, some cargo for limpets, and a fighter bay. Buddy #2 had his combat Viper, buddy #3 had his Type-7 loaded out for refining and heavy hauling. Buddy #2 kept local space clear with the help of my fighter, and I'd mine while buddy #3 collected and refined. When he got a full load, he jumped out to sell, buy limpets, and transfer space limpets to me; while he was out, I prospected the next rock and helped bounty hunt.

The problem being, we couldn't split the profits from the ore sales, which irked me because we were all working together to make more creds than we would have on our own.

Eacaraxe:

I have a friend who still plays time to time in my local RPG group, he was bragging about how proud he was to have finally gotten 50ly jump range on his AspX, which absolutely floored me because I broke 50ly without much more than a grade 5 increased range FSD and I never even ground out guardian crap. He sent me his ship's profile on Coriolis, and by all rights it should have been over 60ly. I quit before the Krait even came out; I ended up using my Asp for rares trading on the occasion I didn't feel like doing mining or bulk hauling in my Python.

My Asp is definitely not optimised; I bought it a very long time ago and used it as a general purpose ship before I boosted it for long jumps, and never bothered clearing out a lot of the excess weight I didn't really need.

What made me say "screw this" to the game was the point I was grinding wake signatures in a famine system...

Yeah, basically. Lots of Elite is just amusing yourself with small tasks - although I'm not sure that really makes it different from lots of other sandbox games. When I want data, I usually just cheese the Jameson crash site and trade. I generally play it on/off - give it a few months a year, then go off and do other stuff, etc.

The only MP I played was closed, with two friends from that gaming group. We'd wing up, and hit asteroid rings to mine and bounty hunt. We actually had a kickass setup; I had my Keelback loaded up with the actual prospecting and mining equipment, some cargo for limpets, and a fighter bay. Buddy #2 had his combat Viper, buddy #3 had his Type-7 loaded out for refining and heavy hauling. Buddy #2 kept local space clear with the help of my fighter, and I'd mine while buddy #3 collected and refined. When he got a full load, he jumped out to sell, buy limpets, and transfer space limpets to me; while he was out, I prospected the next rock and helped bounty hunt.

The problem being, we couldn't split the profits from the ore sales, which irked me because we were all working together to make more creds than we would have on our own.

Same here - I've got my brother and a few friends and we occasionally team up to do stuff. Best way to share gains from groups is probably to take a mining mission - you'll all get the mission creds even if the goods only go to one.

Agema:
My Asp is definitely not optimised; I bought it a very long time ago and used it as a general purpose ship before I boosted it for long jumps, and never bothered clearing out a lot of the excess weight I didn't really need.

To be honest, I didn't find the absolutely batshit amount of work needed to eke out those last 5-10ly of jump range remotely worth it. It's nice if you're using FSD range consumables and/or riding the neutron highway because then you're getting a multiplicative effect, but more often than not you're making shorter-range jumps and reduced fuel efficiency on max-range jumps just means you're forced to scoop more often. It's a net time-saver if you're making long hauls out to Colonia or beyond for survey missions, but unless you're doing that kind of thing a lot you're still running a time deficit from grinding out the minor improvements.

For the time it took to grind from 50-55ly range, I could have made two or three round trips to Colonia and back to the bubble on the shorter jump range. Or, hell, just ground credits to buy and outfit an exploraconda which comes straight out of the box with a higher jump range than a min-maxed AspX.

AspX is absolute beast mode for rares trading though.

Yeah, basically. Lots of Elite is just amusing yourself with small tasks - although I'm not sure that really makes it different from lots of other sandbox games.

The pacing is what I take issue with, more than anything. It took me the same amount of time to go from Sidey to Cobra, from Cobra to Type-6, and from Type-6 to AspX, and from AspX to Python. And looking forward, from Python to 'Conda. And, the gameplay loops didn't look or feel all that different, bounty hunting in my Keelback didn't feel any different from bounty hunting in my funship. I get that gameplay loops are gameplay loops for a reason, but on the other hand some variation would be nice.

Same here - I've got my brother and a few friends and we occasionally team up to do stuff. Best way to share gains from groups is probably to take a mining mission - you'll all get the mission creds even if the goods only go to one.

I don't think they had those before I quit. The only wing missions that existed at that point I can remember were cargo missions, and those existed in this weird space where one person with a large ship could carry others, and/or everyone in the wing needed at least a Python to do them at a rate where the credits per hour were comparable to other activities.

Quick update, things are now officially...weirder. I'd say it's time for a Google alert. Still could be nothing, but definitely weirder.

Eacaraxe:
Quick update, things are now officially...weirder. I'd say it's time for a Google alert. Still could be nothing, but definitely weirder.

You want my guess? C'tan.

Next update, according to astronomers monitoring Betelgeuse's activity it seems to have stopped dimming, but it hasn't started brightening again yet. Either way the information to come from this will be very interesting, and if I had to venture a guess as to what was witnessed as a layperson with an interest in this...maybe we just witnessed a monster supergiant CME?

 

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