Betelguese: The super giant in the neighbourhood

I have written about this huge red giant star before. It is about 600 light years from earth and has a diameter almost as big as the orbit of jupiter.

Now I want to show how this star has been changing over the last few years.

Back in 2012 I was able to take a photo of this star with my camera at a low magnification.

Betelgeuse

Betelgeuse

This image is a lower ISO image showing even the less hot parts of the star but no gas around the star.

Betelgeuse High shutter speed

Betelgeuse High shutter speed

It showed the star as a red sphere with no gas around the star at all. Although this was as we see our sun, this to me seemed unusual as many stars that I was shooting at this low magnification seemed to have gas could around them.

Then during April 2013 I was able to take a new photo with a magnification of about 3000x which is below.

Betelguse DSC01373A

Clearly this shows a large explosion of gas from the star.

By December 2013 you can see that the gas cloud has moved around the star.

 

Betelgeuse DSC02478Then the gas had dispersed in a later photograph creating this distribution which has been enhanced from a brighter image of the star.

Betelguese DSC02443A

And later again about a month later the gas had become more even around the star.

Betelguese DSC02452A

As time went on into February 2014 we see that this gas eventually stabilised to cover most of the outside of the star .

Betelguse Feb 2014 DSC02892A

This demonstration shows that stars are very dynamic energy sources. Betelguese should never be trusted. It is a super giant nearing the end of its life and expected to go super nova at any time. When this happens at only 600 light years away will have an impact on earth by either lighting up the night sky to almost daylight or impacting communications around the world or affecting our outer layers of atmosphere temporarily or permanently.

By David Holland

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