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Betelgeuse: The incredible shrinking star?

 
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06/10/2009 08:39 PM
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Betelgeuse: The incredible shrinking star?
Pinned prominently on Orion's shoulder, the bright red star Betelgeuse hardlyseems like a wallflower. But a new study suggests the giant star has been shrinking for more than a decade.

Betelgeuse is nearing the end of its life as a red supergiant. The bright, bloated star is 15 to 20 times more massive than the sun. If it were placed at the centre of the solar system, the star would extend out to the orbit of Jupiter.

But the star's reach seems to be waning. New observations indicate the giant star has shrunk by more than 15 per cent since 1993. This could be a sign of a long-term oscillation in its size or the star's first death knells. Or it may just be an artefact of the star's bumpy surface, which may appear to change in size as the star rotates.
[link to www.newscientist.com]
Did the iron in your blood and calcium in your bones come from a long-ago supernova? Astronomer and writer Carl Sagan thought so. "We are star stuff", Sagan once said.
Every one of us is precious in the cosmic perspective. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.


We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands.

__Carl Sagan___

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