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  • Betelgeuse - a red supergiant star. photo from 1999.
    Rights: A. Dupree (CfA), R. Gilliland (STScI), NASA Published 17 September 2009 Size: 15 KB Referencing Hub media

    Supergiants are the element factories of our universe. The nuclear fusion reactions occurring are H→ He, He→ C, C→ Ne, Ne→ O, O→ Si and Si→ Fe.

    Betelgeuse in the constellation Orion is a super red giant. It is about 20 times as massive as the Sun. The lifetime of this type of star is relatively short by comparison with the Sun – millions of years as opposed to billions of years.

    Acknowledgement: A. Dupree (CfA), R. Gilliland (STScI), NASA

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