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Red Hot Vacuum

In Stars by Brian Koberlein1 Comment

Giant stars such as Betelgeuse may appear to dwarf our Sun, but their densities are so low that they are basically red hot vacuums.

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Close Encounters of the Stellar Kind

In Stars by Brian Koberlein9 Comments

A star known as HIP 85605 is on a collision course with our solar system. Not a collision course as in Armageddon, or When Worlds Collide, but rather on a path to come within 0.04 parsecs of the Sun. That might seem close, but that would make it more than 8,000 times more distant than Earth at its closest approach (8,000 AU). Distant Eris is only 100 AU by comparison. Given that stellar distances are typically measured in light years, and this encounter would be only 50 light days away, that’s remarkably close by astronomical standards. This close encounter won’t occur for another 400,000 years or so. Currently HIP 85605 is about 16 light years away, so we have time to plan for its visit. But it does raise an interesting question as to how such a close encounter could affect our solar system.