Definitions for betelgeuseˈbit lˌdʒuz, ˈbɛt lˌdʒœz
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Betelgeuse, Alpha Orionis(noun)
the second brightest star in Orion
A bright-red supergiant intrinsic variable star, the second brightest star in the constellation Orion; Alpha (u03B1) Orionis. It is the tenth brightest star in the nighttime, and one of the largest stars known.
Origin: Ultimately from an alteration of the yad al-jawzā ‘hand of the central one’, from ‘hand’ + ‘central one’.
Betelgeuse, also known by its Bayer designation Alpha Orionis, is the ninth-brightest star in the night sky and second-brightest in the constellation of Orion. Distinctly reddish, it is a semiregular variable star whose apparent magnitude varies between 0.2 and 1.2, the widest range of any first-magnitude star. Betelgeuse is one of three stars that make up the Winter Triangle, and it marks the center of the Winter Hexagon. The star's name is derived from the Arabic يد الجوزاء Yad al-Jauzā', meaning "the Hand of al-Jauzā'", i.e. Orion, with mistransliteration into medieval Latin leading to the first character y being misread as a b. The star is classified as a red supergiant of spectral type M2Iab and is one of the largest and most luminous observable stars. If Betelgeuse were at the center of the Solar System, its surface would extend past the asteroid belt, possibly to the orbit of Jupiter and beyond, wholly engulfing Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. Estimates of its mass are poorly constrained, but range from 5 to 30 times that of the Sun. Its distance from Earth was estimated in 2008 at 640 light-years, yielding a mean absolute magnitude of about −6.02. Less than 10 million years old, Betelgeuse has evolved rapidly because of its high mass. Having been ejected from its birthplace in the Orion OB1 Association—which includes the stars in Orion's Belt—this crimson runaway has been observed moving through the interstellar medium at a supersonic speed of 30 km/s, creating a bow shock over 4 light-years wide. Currently in a late stage of stellar evolution, the supergiant is expected to proceed through its life cycle before exploding as a type II supernova within the next million years. An observation by the Herschel Space Observatory in January 2013 noted that the star's winds are crashing against the surrounding interstellar medium.
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