About this Image
This cool space wallpaper is a composite color image of the Herschel PACS 70, 100, 160 micron-wavelength images of Betelgeuse. The star (center) is surrounded by a clumpy envelope of material in its immediate vicinity. A series of arcs 6–7 arcminutes to the left of the star is material ejected from Betelgeuse as it evolved into a red supergiant star, shaped by its bow shock interaction with the interstellar medium.
Betelgeuse rides on the shoulder of the constellation Orion the Hunter. It can easily be seen with the naked eye in the northern hemisphere winter night sky as the orange–red star above and to the left of Orion’s famous three-star belt. This image was taken Dec. 17, 2012.
Credit: ESA/Herschel/PACS/L. Decin et al
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