Friday, June 12, 2009

Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse

The numbers are staggering, but I find this story fascinating.

First there's star that has a radius 5.5 times bigger than the orbit of the earth's (and even bigger than the orbit of Jupiter which is 5 times that of the earth).

Then in the past 15 years it has shrunk by 15% (a distance equal to the orbit of Venus).

Now a great deal of what I know of the bad things that can happen in astronomy I know from science-fiction, but shrinking stars are never a good thing.

If I start hearing that they're seeing lots of iron in Betelgeuse's spectrum, I'll be watching for a pretty light show in the near future.

I'm hoping Phil Plait has something to say on this pretty soon.

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