Boulders of Orion
In December the constellation Orion rises in the east immediately after sunset. While camping in Joshua Tree National Park, I picked a campsite that faced a boulder formation in that direction. When clouds moved in, I wasn’t sure I would get any pictures. But then a small gap appeared, leaving halos around the brighter stars. The red supergiant star Betelgeuse is visible in the center. It is one of the largest stars in the Milky Way, 1400 times the size of the sun. It's also a variable star, which means the brightness changes regularly. But in recent days it has been attracting attention because it’s currently dimmer than ever recorded before. Betelgeuse is at the end of its stellar life cycle and when it goes supernova its brightness in Earth's sky will rival that of the full moon. Since the star is 640 light years away, it may have already exploded centuries ago. But the likelihood of seeing a supernova anytime soon is still very small and they remain unpredictable.
- Kevin Palmer
- Image Size
- 6016x4016 / 14.9MB
Betelgeuse, California, December, Joshua Tree, Joshua Tree National Park, National Park, Orion, Orion's Belt, United States, White Tanks Campground, astronomy, astrophotography, boulders, clouds, desert, evening, kevin palmer, night, nikon d750, sky, space, starry, stars, tamron 24-70mm f2.8, winter
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