Betelgeuse (star)

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Spectral M1-M2 Ia-ab
Type Supergiant
Luminosity ~ 120,000 LSol
Absolute magnitude -5.85
Mag Terra 0.50
Temperature ~ 3500° K
Mass ~ 5 - 30 MSol
Radius ~ 1200 RSol

The star Betelgeuse (also spelled Betelgeux and Betelgeuze, and otherwise known as Alpha Orionis) is a pinkish-orange "Red Supergiant" star of spectral type M1-M2 that is at the very end of its life cycle prior to going supernova sometime within the next 100,000 years.

  • It is a former member of the Orion OB-1 Association.

Description (Specifications)[edit]

Betelgeuse is a semi-regular variable star of subgroup SRc, characterized by low-amplitude variations and periods of stable brightness. This pulsation is due to the fact that Betelgeuse's stellar atmosphere is unstable.

  • Betelgeuse's luminosity varies between 90,000 LSol and 150,000 LSol on a regular basis, and there are short-term variations of around 150 to 300 days that modulate a regular cyclic variation with a period of roughly 5.7 years.
  • This variability is complicated by the star's tendency to change shape, and the fact that the surface of Betelgeuse is obscured by an asymmetric envelope approximately 250 times the size of the star. This envelope is formed due to colossal mass loss via vast plumes of gas that are periodically ejected from the star into the surrounding atmosphere with distances up to 30 AU.
  • Betelgeuse is the brightest near-infrared radiation source in Terra's sky, and only about 13% of the star's radiant energy is actually emitted in the form of visible light. If human eyes were sensitive to radiation at all wavelengths, Betelgeuse would appear as the brightest star in the Terran night sky.

The Betelgeuse star system lies approximately 152.7pc from Terra, and is located in a Rimward/Rimspinward direction from Terra at bearing 199.8o Galactic Longitude and -09.0o South Galactic Latitude.

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

Betelgeuse forms the shoulder of the Terran-sky constellation of Orion, one of the few constellations that is marginally recognizable throughout Charted Space.

  • Chinese astronomers on ancient Terra observed Betelgeuse as having a yellow coloration, which suggests that the star may have spent some time as a yellow supergiant around IY -4500. Since supergiant stars will often oscillate between red and blue over astronomical timescales, they will spend a brief period in the "yellow supergiant" phase as the transition is occurring.

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

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