Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Betelgeuse & Lovecraft (Real Life Lovecraftian Science)

(Above) Constellation containing Betegeuse.

(Above) Image of the Red Star
“Good luck with Hastur—but don’t use any word sounding like ‘Betelgeuse’ to represent a primal name of that distant sun (or to represent the name used by the denizens of any of its hypothetical planets) since this name is an Arabic product of the Middle Ages, and signifies ‘the armpit (or shoulder) of the giant (or central one)’—Ibn at Jauzah—Orion having been known as Al Jauzah to the astronomers of the Saracenic Caliphate—who did so much to advance the science.” (to August Derleth, 30 January 1933)

Chrispy does not typically follow the intricacies of the modern Mythos games, but in this case it's notable to know that: The ancient battleground in which the Elder Gods and the Great Old Ones fought their apocalyptic and unfathomable war, the system of Betelgeuse – rendered “Glyu-Uho” in Naacal – contains innumerable worlds pocked with the scabrous remnants of ancient and often non-Euclidean cities scarred with the uncanny wounds of primordial conflict. The principle inhabited world of the Betelgeuse System is Yarnak, a shattered world rebuilt by initially optimistic if perhaps foolhardy settlers. /// August Derleth and Mark Schorer’s “The Lair of the Star-Spawn” (published in the February 1932 issue of Weird Tales) mentions the “Great Old Ones” - but as the beings from Betelgeuse and Rigel who imprisoned Cthulhu and his kindred!


11 June 2009

Bye-bye, Betelgeuse?

The nearby, well-known and very bright star may soon explode in a supernova, according to data released by U.C. Berkeley researchers Tuesday.

The red giant Betelgeuse, once so large it would reach out to Jupiter's orbit if placed in our own solar system, has shrunk by 15 percent over the past decade in a half, although it's just as bright as it's ever been.

"To see this change is very striking," said retired Berkeley physics professor Charles Townes, who won the 1964 Nobel Prize for inventing the laser. "We will be watching it carefully over the next few years to see if it will keep contracting or will go back up in size."

Betelgeuse, whose name derives from Arabic, is easily visible in the constellation Orion. It gave Michael Keaton's character his name in the movie "Beetlejuice" and was the home system of Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

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