Star Burps Dust #astronomy #Betelgeuse

I waxed poetic while holding my breath in late 2019, waiting for the star Betelgeuse to go nova. It was dimming in a most-notable manner, which was odd and exciting. Then it brightened again, seeming to thumb its photonic nose at us all.

The mystery of what this red giant was up to seems to be solved. While not as exciting as a supernova, it is pretty nifty. The actual astronomical images are available online, but this artist’s rendering is eye-catching.

Hubble Space Telescope’s UV data… combined with some timely ground observations indicated that a big burp that formed a cloud of dust near the star may have caused the star to get darker.

“With Hubble, we could see the material as it left the star’s surface and moved out through the atmosphere, before the dust formed that caused the star to appear to dim,” said Andrea Dupree, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who made those observations. She is also a co-author on the new paper. ARS

I’ll have to hope for a Big Boom somewhere else.

There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills, and We Don’t Know Why #poetry #astronomy

Neutron stars merging (artist concept, University of Warwick/Mark Garlick)

“Neutron star collisions
Release showers of gold,”
But such cosmic events
Are rare to behold.

They make all the strontium
That is observed,
But our planet’s bright gilding
Is hardly deserved.

Carbon makes sense,
Uranium’s explained,
Europium was tricky
But now ascertained.

So why so much gold?
Why all the bling?
That’s still a mystery
You wear as a ring.

Thanks to Live Science for their article and the phrase quoted above that launched this poem.

Billion Year Old Ghost #star #space #science #amwriting #poem

charting the stars

charting the stars

Fourteen billion years ago,
Photons first became.
Twelve billion years ago they left
The first star ending darkness’ reign.

A star three times older
Than our own life-giving Sun,
Its photons traveled all that time
Till in our scopes their trip was done.

Our Sun will last another
Four or five billion years,
And collapse to carbon ash
Long after we were here.

The first star has had the time
To go supernova.
We see its birth when we look up
Though death has taken over.

Who will watch our Sun expand
And boil away Earth’s seas?
Who will see its giant phase?
Its helium flash recede?

Whoever turns their optics on,
Across the universe,
May still admire our pleasant orb
When Earth’s life has dispersed.

By Kate Rauner

VENTURE 2015 EBOOK CoverIn my science fiction novel Venture, a space station encounters the evolution of a

main sequence star, along with asteroid mining and crew conflicts. Journey with them.

Thanks to which reposted this article from April, 2000 – another message from the past.

The fate of our Sun is explained here: universetoday

Einstein’s Stardust #space #Poetry #poem #star

Stardust escapes a supernova

Stardust escapes a supernova

You may only know him
As the world’s most famous geek.
Einstein’s fame depends upon
A formula we can repeat

E = m c-squared

Your GPS just won’t work
Without his time dilation.
Satellites far above
Use relativity’s foundation.

If you like the gleam of gold
It’s re-emitted photons
That shift the sunlight’s frequencies
To yellow-reds we dote on.

Relativity explains
Light moves at finite speed.
If it were instantaneous
There’d be no light to see.

But it’s in supernovas
Where relativity
Overcomes quantum effects,
Creates the stardust,
To make,
And me.
by Kate Rauner

For a quick run through relativity in everyday life, see

R&R 3 coversAll my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.