Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse!

Betelgeuse is one of the brightest and largest stars that can be seen with the naked eye. It is a red supergiant--so large that it would probably extend to the orbit of Jupiter if it replaced our sun! In stars, bigger is not always better and, despite the fact that it is less than 10 million years old, it close to the end of its life (by contrast, our sun is 4.6 billion years old and is only about halfway through its life).  Within the next million years, Betelgeuse is likely to explode in a Type II Supernova explosion. The supernova would be visible from earth for several weeks before fading, outshining the full moon as a magnitude -12 star. Current best estimates is that a supernova is most likely in the next 100,000 years.

This image was taken with the F/4 Newt and the DS 2.3+.