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B E T E L G E U S E

12 May 2020, 13:00 UTC
B E T E L G E U S E
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Oh, I could go on and on about how massive it is (15 times our own Sun's heft) or its tremendous luminosity (125,000 times more energetic than the Sun) or its overwhelming size (well over a billion kilometers across).

I could tell you about its color (orange-red due it being much cooler than the Sun) or its youth (roughly 9 million years, a tiny fraction of the Sun's 4.6 billion year life so far) or its distance (650 light years, 6.5 quadrillion kilometers).

I could also tell you how it could explode (but it won't for 100,000 years or so).

But I have a better idea. I've heard that if you say its name three times it'll appear.

This is a science blog, so let's see:

Betelgeuse.

Betelgeuse.

Betelgeuse.

Betelgeuse and its environs. Credit: Adam Block /Steward Observatory/University of Arizona

Huh. How about that?

Isn't that lovely? That is indeed the star Betelgeuse, marking the right shoulder (or armpit) of the constellation Orion, a massive, luminous, enormous red supergiant. In almost every image I've seen of it the exposure is such that few stars are seen around it; the star is so bright by eye (in the top 15 brightest ...

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