Home > Ephemeris Program, stars > 01/18/2015 – Ephemeris – Betelgeuse, a dying star

01/18/2015 – Ephemeris – Betelgeuse, a dying star

January 18, 2016

Ephemeris for Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 18th.  The Sun will rise at 8:15.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 16 minutes, setting at 5:31.   The Moon, 2 days past first quarter, will set at 3:47 tomorrow morning.

Now that the Moon is getting brighter and making the fainter tars in the constellations harder to find, let’s look at the bright stars of Winter.  Today, let’s look at Betelgeuse the reddish star in Orion the hunter’s shoulder.  Lets get the basic facts out first.  Betelgeuse is a red giant star 90 thousand to 150 thousand times brighter than the Sun and 7 to 20 times the Sun’s mass.  It’s around a thousand times the diameter of the Sun, making it about the diameter of the orbit of Jupiter.  It’s about 650 light years away, but that’s a bit uncertain.  It is shedding gasses at a prestigious rate.  Though only 7 million years old, it may explode as a supernova in the next million years.  And yes, we’re far enough away.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.


Orion's bright named stars

Some of Orion’s named stars, including Betelgeuse. Orion at 8 p.m.  Created using Stellarium.

Betelgeuse and its nebula. From ESO's Very Large Telescope.

Betelgeuse and its nebula. From ESO’s Very Large Telescope.

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