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This is what a red giant looks like just as it's about to blow

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If you're ever traveling through space and you encounter a red giant star that looks like this, you might just want to turn tail and get the hell out of there. This is a video interpretation of Betelgeuse, a star that's on the brink of going supernova. And as you can see, it's a bubbling cauldron of mass and energy that's just ready to unleash.

This video comes courtesy of Sky Mania's Paul Sutherland, who describes the phenomenon:

The boiling surface of the star, which lies 640 light-years away from Earth, shows irregular hot and cool areas which change their intensity and shape over the months.

Betelgeuse is one of the brightest stars in the sky to the unaided eye, marking the armpit in Orion, and has long been known to vary in its brightness. Amateur astronomy groups around the world have recorded its changing brightness over many decades.

It is also one of the biggest and most luminous stars known, being nearly 1,000 times larger than the Sun and shining more than 100,000 times more brightly.

Betelgeuse is so big that if placed at the centre of our own Solar System it would fill a space as far out as giant planet Jupiter! But it is only a few million years old, much younger than our four billion-year-old Sun, and is set to blow itself apart any time in the near cosmic future in an explosion that would make it visible in broad daylight.


The video, which represents a seven year expanse of time, was put together by French astronomer Pierre Kervella of the Observatoire de Paris.

Check out Paul's entire article.