Pinned prominently on Orion’s shoulder, the bright red star Betelgeuse hardly seems like a wallflower. But a new study suggests the giant star has been shrinking for more than a decade. Betelgeuse is nearing the end of its life as a red supergiant. The bright, bloated star is 15 to 20 times more massive than the sun. If it were placed at the centre of the solar system, the star would extend out to the orbit of Jupiter. But the star’s reach seems to be waning. New observations indicate the giant star has shrunk by more than 15 per cent since 1993. This could be a sign of a long-term oscillation in its size or the star’s first death knells. Or it may just be an artefact of the star’s bumpy surface, which may appear to change in size as the star rotates
Betelgeuse: The Incredible Shrinking Star?
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