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Betelgeuse: The Next Supernova?


Click on image for full size
Image from the Hubble Space Telescope, reproduced with permission from AURA/STScI.

What's in a Name: Arabic for "shoulder of the giant". Also known as the Martial Star.
Claim to Fame: First star seen as a sphere instead of a point of light by the Hubble Space Telescope on March 3, 1995. 12th brightest star in the sky . Possibly will be the very next supernova.
Type of Star: Orange-Red Supergiant (M2 Iab Spectral Class). 3300K surface temp.
How Far Away: Over 300 light years away
How Big: 1300 times the sun's diameter. Would overfill the orbit of Jupiter if placed at the sun's position in the solar system
How Bright: 54,000 times the sun's visual luminosity (absolute visual magnitude, Mv = -7)
Where to View: 2nd brightest star In the constellation of Orion (Star Map)
When to View: Best viewed from the Northern hemisphere during December-March

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA