Spot a Stellar ‘Odd Couple’ In the Night Sky This Week

I found an article on Space.com titled, ‘Spot a Stellar ‘Odd Couple’ In the Night Sky This Week‘, by Joe Rao. This article talks about two odd stars that can be found in Orion’s constellation, Rigel and Betelgeuse. Rigel is 863 light-years away and its luminosity is about 120,000 times the brightness of our sun. Rigel is also a white super giant. Betelgeuse is much older than Rigel and is located 640 light-years away. Betelgeuse is a red super giant. I found this article rather interesting because is mentioned that Rigel will eventually become a red super giant because stars produce energy by fusing hydrogen into helium in their cores; then they get enough helium to start fusing that instead. Then the star swells up into a red giant. Though this wont happen to Rigel for a few million years. I can relate this article to our conceptual objective because it talks about two stars that are super giants, that have evolved off the main sequence. Astronomers use the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram graphically classify stars by their luminosity, temperature, spectral type, and absolute magnitude. As we learned in our lecture tutorial books we have main sequence stars, white dwarfs, giants, and super giants. Stars with the same luminosity have the same absolute magnitude number. I can tell you that both these stars in the article are very bright(high in luminosity) and cool( low in temperature) by using the H-R diagram.

 

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