Betelgeuse and Rigel: A tale of the two brightest stars in Orion

Within Orion we discover 2 tremendous stars, Rigel and Betelgeuse, obviously at diametrically opposite periods in a stars presence. In Rigel (the “left leg of the giant”), we discover a star apparently reaching the prime of its life. That cloud obstructed a part of the stars face as seen from the point of view of Earth and hence triggered the star to appear to dim. When a star collects enough helium in its core, its energy output increases considerably, and it swells into a red giant or supergiant, like Betelgeuse. As soon as the core starts creating iron, a stars days are numbered; the formation of elements much heavier than iron consumes rather than produces energy.

An unforeseen eclipse.

Stars produce their energy by fusing hydrogen into helium deep within their cores. When a star builds up sufficient helium in its core, its energy output increases substantially, and it swells into a red giant or supergiant, like Betelgeuse. This is what Rigel will become in a couple of million years..
In such stars, the core produces successively much heavier components to balance the perpetual crush of gravity. Once the core begins developing iron, a stars days are numbered; the development of aspects much heavier than iron consumes rather than produces energy.
Joe Rao works as a trainer and visitor speaker at New Yorks Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for Natural History publication, the Farmers Almanac and other publications. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook..

So, what was the factor for the “Betelgeuse brownout?”.
On Aug. 13, 2020, the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics released a declaration attributing the fade-down of Betelgeuse as a “stellar sneeze.” The stars fade-down was “more than likely triggered by the ejection and cooling of dense hot gases, and that the star might be going through another dimming duration more than a year early,” according to the declaration..
The gas and dust that was blown away after the “huge sneeze” ultimately condensed into a dark cloud. That cloud obstructed a part of the stars face as seen from the viewpoint of Earth and thus triggered the star to appear to dim. Some residual gas and dust might have given that condensed into a smaller cloud which might be leading to another round of obvious dimming of Betelgeuse at today time.

Betelgeuse and Rigel are two intense stars in the constellation of Orion, the hunter. (Image credit: Starry Night) This week, the grandest and most amazing of all constellations can be discovered due south and standing upright around 7 p.m. regional time, and controling our winter skies like– to use the words of astronomer Robert H, Baker– “a massive piece of precious jewelry.”.

Betelgeuse was much in the news at this time last year, because it was undergoing an uncommon dimming. Due to the fact that of its irregular pulsations, it was well understood that Betelgeuse could appear to noticeably brighten and fade in time. However a year earlier, it had reduced to magnitude +1.6. Usually the tenth-brightest star in the sky, within a matter of just a couple of months Betelgeuse had been up to the rank of a second-magnitude star (if settled to the closest whole magnitude)..
There was much speculation that this anomalous dimming was a sign that the star may be preparing to end its life as a supernova. But by the spring of 2020, the star had as soon as again reverted back to its “normal” brightness of magnitude +0.4. It has actually because faded somewhat once again, though nothing to compare to the extreme fade down of a year earlier..

Shining down upon us through the wintry air all winter season long, 3 bright stars in a diagonal line in the middle of a brilliant rectangle embellish Orions belt, which points northward to the star clusters of the Hyades and Pleiades in Taurus, and southward to the brightest of all stars, the “Dog Star” Sirius..

Polar opposites.

Its the “terrific hunter” or “celestial warrior,” Orion, the most brilliant of the constellations and noticeable from every occupied part of the Earth. In contrast to Hercules, who was credited with an in-depth series of exploits, Orion appears to us a shadowy and vague figure.
Even the origin of the name Orion is unknown, though some scholars have recommended a connection with the Greek “Arion,” suggesting “warrior.” All, nevertheless, concur that he was the mightiest hunter on the planet, and he is always visualized in the stars with his club upraised in his right-hand man. Hanging from his upraised left hand is the skin of a great lion he has killed and which he is brandishing in the face of Taurus, the bull, who is charging down upon him..
Related: Exploring Orions marvels utilizing mobile astronomy apps.


This sky map shows where you can see the Orion constellation, Mars and two star clusters (the Pleiades and Hyades) in the night sky. (Image credit: SkySafari app) In plain contrast, Betelgeuse (the “armpit” of the giant), shines with a cool, dull ruddy color and is situated 548 light-years away, though there is an uncertainty of as much as 100 light-years with this figure. Like Rigel, Betelgeuses luminosity far exceeds that of our sun. It is an irregular pulsating supergiant star, nearing completion of its life and as such it broadens and contracts spasmodically. Exceptionally, its diameter can differ in between 550 to 920 times the diameter of our sun, indicating that at its optimum size, were it put at the center of our solar system, it would engulf the worlds Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter..
In trying to describe Betelgeuse some three-quarters of a century back, Henry Neeley, a veteran lecturer at New Yorks Hayden Planetarium noted that it is “like an old male with his strength practically completely invested, panting in the asthmatic decrepitude of old age.”.

Within Orion we find two enormous stars, Rigel and Betelgeuse, apparently at diametrically opposite durations in a stars presence. In Rigel (the “left leg of the giant”), we discover a star obviously reaching the prime of its life. It is the seventh-brightest star in our sky and is a real supergiant: a blazing blue-hot star of extreme sparkle and spectacular beauty, one of the rarest types in our galaxy..
Located 863 light-years away, Rigels computed luminosity is an unbelievable 120,000 times the brightness of our sun. Its surface area temperature level is likewise far hotter than the sun, around 21,000 degrees Fahrenheit (11,600 degrees Celsius). Compare that to 10,000 degrees F (5,500 degrees C) for the sun. In terms of overall size, Rigel determines 79 times the diameter of the sun. And yet, its only 21 times more huge..