Witness a celestial event this Valentine’s Day

Manasi Saraf Joshi
Friday, 14 February 2020

Director of Nehru Planetarium Arvind Paranjpye said, “Right in the centre of the constellation are three prominent stars in a straight line. These are Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. They form the belt of the Hunter. They are flanked by four bright stars that form the shoulders and knees of the Hunter.”

PUNE: Those who are in long-distance relationship now can unite on the Valentine’s Day through a celestial event. All you have to do is to look up in the sky at 8.30 pm from which ever place you are and watch the majestic Orion (Hunter) constellation. 

Explaining the event in detail, Director of Nehru Planetarium Arvind Paranjpye said, “Right in the centre of the constellation are three prominent stars in a straight line. These are Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. They form the belt of the Hunter. They are flanked by four bright stars that form the shoulders and knees of the Hunter.”

Paranjpye added, “Imagine that the Hunter is facing you, and look at his right shoulder. You will see a star that has a reddish hue, like a pale red rose. This is Betelgeuse, known to astronomers as a red giant. This cool, red giant is going to assist us in our long-distance Valentine’s Day celebration.”

“So you and your special friend can look at the beautiful Betelgeuse with its rose hue together and connect with a common point across the mists of space and time,” he said with a chuckle. 

Paranjpye said that he had issued the same notification some 15 years ago when he was in Pune. 

“This star constellation will be right above your head and will be visible anywhere from the world where there is night with the naked eyes,” he said.

A RED GIANT
Betelgeuse is called a red giant because it has almost reached the end of its life. All the hydrogen in its core has been converted to higher elements and the heat generated from various cycles of fusion expanded its atmosphere outwards. As its atmosphere expanded, it began to cool, and acquired a reddish appearance. It is almost 800 times the size of our Sun. It is so huge that if it were to be situated where the Sun is, it would engulf the orbit of Jupiter. It is about 600 light years away from the Earth. The Sun will also turn into a red giant like Betelgeuse about four billion years from now. But while Betelgeuse is expected to explode as a supernova within about a million years, our Sun will end its life in a whimper, going from a red giant to a quiet white dwarf.

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