Fig7_7 The Flames of Betelegeuse

Fig7_7 The Flames of Betelegeuse

Fig. 7.7 . The red supergiant star Betelgeuse is slowly shedding it outer atmosphere, producing out-flowing gas that envelops the star and a much bigger nebula of gas and dust that surrounds it. The small circle in the middle of this composite image denotes the edge of the supergiantís optically visible disk; it has a diameter of about 4.5 AU, where one AU is the mean distance between the Earth and the Sun. The black disk masks the bright central radiation of the star, in order to detect the infrared radiation of the outer plumes. They stretch to about 400 AU, or 60 million million, or 6 x 1013, meters from the supergiant Betelgeuse. (Courtesy of ESO/VISIR/VLT/Pierre Kervella.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University