Science: Computerized Star

Through telescopes or high-powered binoculars, most of the solar system's planets appear as disks, some with distinguishable surface features. But stars other than the sun are so distant that even the closest one* looks like a mere pinpoint of light through the most powerful telescopes. Now astronomers at Arizona's Kitt Peak National Observatory have improved the stellar image. Using their new 158-in. reflector—the world's second largest telescope—in combination with a novel, computer-enhanced photographic technique, they have produced the first pictures of a star that show some surface detail.

The star is Betelgeuse, a so-called red giant so large that it could encompass...

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