Release 852 of 1,073

Hubble Space Telescope Captures First Direct Image of a Star

Release date: Dec 10, 1996 12:00 AM (EST)
Release type: American Astronomical Society Meeting

This is the first direct image of a star other than the Sun. Called Alpha Orionis, or Betelgeuse, the star is a red super giant, a Sun-like star nearing the end of its life.

The Hubble picture reveals a huge ultraviolet atmosphere with a mysterious hot spot on the stellar behemoth's surface. The enormous bright spot, twice the diameter of the Earth's orbit, is at least 2,000 degrees Kelvin hotter than the star's surface.