Technology

Betelgeuse would be closer to Earth than scientists believed

Betelgeuse, one of the 20 brightest stars in our visible sky, has long inspired the creators. From the Planète des Singes by Pierre Boulle to Lone Sloane, Druillet’s intergalactic hero, including comics (Les Mondes d’Aldébaran), Bételgeuse makes SF artists dream. This semi-regular variable star of the red supergiant type is located in the constellation Orion. So far, scientists have been lost in guesswork to determine the exact distance of this star from our sun. In 2013, the Herschel Space Telescope determined that Betelgeuse is likely to be around 500 light years away. The latest work instead sets this distance at 642.5 light years.

The team of astronomers led by Dr. Meridith Joyce (National University of Australia) managed to refine the information about the star: the mass of Betelgeuse would oscillate between 16.5 and 19 times the solar mass and the radius of Betelgeuse would be 764 times the radius of ours Sun correspond. The star’s luminosity has not decreased for several years (from the 6th to the 21st brightest visible star). Once the size and luminosity are known it will be possible to deduce the distance separating Betelgeuse from our planet earth. Australian astronomers have therefore calculated that Betelgeuse was ultimately about 548 light-years from Earth, or 25% less than the last estimate! For the next intergalactic trip, there is no doubt that it is better to choose Alpha Du Centaure as your destination (about 4 light years from our sun).

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