IamA female astrophysicist who just published on the famous star Betelgeuse and found it may have swallowed another star. AMA!
I am a female astrophysicist who has studied Betelgeuse for the past 5 years. My team, under the mentorship of Dr. J. Craig Wheeler (University of Texas at Austin), found that Betelgeuse may have gobbled up another star the size of our sun--which may explain why it's spinning at its current rotational velocity. Our next step is to use asteroseismology--studying stellar pulsations--to figure out when Betelgeuse will explode.
Here are some press releases covering our work: http://www.iflscience.com/space/betelgeuse-spinning-faster-than-expected-because-it-ate-a-sun-like-star/
And here's our paper: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1611.08031.pdf
Proof (a photo of me talking about Betelgeuse at our local Astronomy on Tap): http://i.imgur.com/eMt0WHs.jpg
EDIT 1: Back online answering while I can! AMA!
EDIT 2: I'm getting some feedback/questions asking why I mentioned I'm a female in my title. I included it because it's an accomplishment to participate- and make an impact- in a male-dominated field. About 20% of physicists are female (https://www.aps.org/programs/education/statistics/womenphysics.cfm). Astronomy is higher, about 35% women, but still more heavily weighted towards men. I include it to help prompt discussions about being a female in science, because there are systematic gender inequalities in the field. I include it to potentially inspire other young women interested in science- and to let them know that they can succeed.