A team of Irish astronomers from the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies led by Eamon O’Gorman captured an image of unprecedented detail of another star, called Betelgeuse. It was captured using the world’s largest radio telescope, the Atacama Large Millimetre/sub-millimetre Array or ALMA which consists of 66 radio antennas, in Chile. It is world’s largest astronomy project and and is a joint venture between Chile, Europe, North America and East Asia.
Betelgeuse is located in the Orion constellation, 650 light years away, and is about 1,400 times larger than sun and more than 1 billion times larger in volume. The team also revealed that it’s inner atmosphere’s temperature is not uniform. Stars like this one throw out huge amounts of their own material into the interstellar medium as they change and grow.
“We have known for decades that the visible surface of Betelgeuse is not uniform, but ALMA has now shown in beautiful detail that the temperature in its inner atmosphere is also not uniform,” said Eamon O’Gorman.
“It looks like these temperature fluctuations could be caused by magnetic fields, similar to what we see on the sun, our nearest star,” he added.
The study was published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
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