ROYAL OBSERVATORY, EDINBURGH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL OBSERVATORY, EDINBURGH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Starfield with Antares (alpha Scorpii), a red supergiant star 500 light years from the Earth. The red supergiant phase is one of the final stages in the life of a normal star, when almost all its hydrogen content is burnt. In this phase the outer layers of the star are greatly inflated by a thin shell of hydrogen burning around a central core of helium. Antares has a diameter of roughly 1 billion km, a surface temperature of 3100K and a mass 10-15 times the solar mass. The globular star cluster NGC 6144 is at top right.
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