All About Betelgeuse

The article I found for this conceptual objective is from skyandtelescope.com and it is titled “Did Betelgeuse Swallow Its Companion?.”

This article is about the star Betelgeuse.  Astronomers have not been able to estimate when the star will explode, among other things. Betelgeuse’s surface temperature, mass, luminosity, and distance also aren’t known. There have been guesses made recently as to the mass, energy output, surface temperature and diameter of the star but all of these guesses depend on how far away Betelgeuse is, which is not 100% known. The article also discusses the idea that Betelgeuse could have formed as part of a binary star system but then swallowed the other star when it turned into a Red Supergiant. Apparently there is a 1-in-5 chance that most massive, solitary stars seen today are actually mergers of two paired suns into one. There is evidence of this fact. Betelgeuse is surrounded by a  a double-rimmed shell of matter that astronomers say would be exactly where it would be if Betelgeuse “burped” while eating the other star 100,000 years ago.

How I can connect this  to our conceptual objective is by what we learned in class and lecture tutorials. According to the article not much is for certain about Betelgeuse’s temperature or luminosity. If we did know these things we would be able to figure out more about the stars spectral type and absolute magnitude according to the H-R Diagram. Using the H-R Diagram we do know a few things about Betelgeuse. Stars that are brighter than expected compared to main sequence stars are large and are called giants or supergiants. We know that Betelgeuse is a Red Supergiant, so it is very bright but also cool.

This article wasn’t all that interesting to me. I have seen too many articles recently that have been about massive black holes flying through space or stars exploding in huge displays of awesome. This was just simply about a theory that a star maybe ate a second star. Compared to many of the other articles I’ve read recently it just wasn’t as compelling.

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