Betelgeuse,a star running on empty
As the Winter season slowly loosens it’s icy grip and the warmth of Spring approaches,we must prepare to say good night to our friends in the Orion constellation.It has been tough to enjoy Orions company this Winter season.As some of you have heard me say a few hundred times.We have had a record snowfall this season with almost 140 inches of the white stuff.Making this the snowiest winter in almost 100 years with more on the way.Have I mentioned “I hate snow”?!.Regardless,Spring is on it’s way and I can’t wait!. 😛
Like me,if you haven’t had too many chances to see this amazing Winter constellation.I would suggest making some hot cocoa,dress warmly and get out there before it is too late.You won’t be disappointed…I promise!!!!.
One of the many features of this amazing constellation is “The Great Orion nebula”which is a amateur astronomer favorite.Heh,mine included!.However their ARE other objects in this constellation that are sometimes left sitting on the sidelines,just waiting for their day to shine.One of the objects that I am talking about is the red super giant Betelgeuse.
Betelgeuse (sounds like beetle juice) is a star that is on it’s death bed and gasping for air.Although it is much cooler than the sun (why it is red in color) it is more than 1000 X larger.In fact,if Betelgeuse were placed at the center of our solar system,it’s atmosphere would extend beyond the orbit of Jupiter!!!.Yes….it is gigantic!!.It also varies in brightness over a course of years,which causes me to view it as a variable star?!.One other indication that it is nearing it’s death is because,it increases and decreases in size.Picture filling a balloon with air, letting some of the air out and then refilling with more air,except in Betelgeuse’s case the air is hydrogen.After a few hundred thousand years,Betelgeuse will have burned through all of it’s fuel causing it to explode as a super nova,making it the brightest star in the sky,second only to our sun!!.Which makes me wonder what the fate of our solar system will be?!.Space,beautiful to look at but,not very friendly!.
Image credit: Andrew