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Space

Surface Plume On Betelgeuse Imaged 51

BJ_Covert_Action writes "Astronomy Now is running a piece regarding some new, exquisitely detailed pictures taken of Betelgeuse, a star in the constellation Orion. Betelgeuse is classified as a supergiant star, and its diameter is approximately 1,000 times that of the sun. Two teams of astronomers used ESO's 'Very large Telescope,' its NACO instruments, and an imaging technique known as 'Lucky Imaging' to take some of the most detailed pictures of Betelgeuse to date. The new pictures reveal a gas plume on Betelgeuse which extends from the surface of the star a distance greater than that between our sun and Neptune. The images also show several other 'boiling' spots on the surface of Betelgeuse, revealing the surface to be quite tumultuous. Currently, it is known that stars of Betelgeuse's size eject the equivalent mass of the Earth into space every year. This recent astronomy work will help researchers determine the mechanics behind such ejections." Update — 8/05 at 13:31 by SS: Here's the original press release from the European Southern Observatory, since the Astronomy Now page has slowed to a crawl.

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