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News Release 3 of 37

December 10, 1996 12:00 AM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-1996-04

Hubble Space Telescope Captures First Direct Image of a Star

An American Astronomical Society Meeting Release

December 10, 1996: 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.

Credit: Andrea Dupree (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA), Ronald Gilliland (STScI), NASA and ESA