February 21, 2011
In the past decade, astronomers routinely make images of stars to analyze stellar shapes (they are not all spheres), star spots, and evidence for mass flowing off the star itself (like dust and gas).
Using interferometers, astronomers have imaged Altair to study its rapid rotation, which makes the star more oblate than spherical; maged Betelgeuse’s disk and found that it’s shrinking; and imaged the mysterious transit of Epsilon Aurigae. Altair: Ming Zhao, University of Michigan; Betelgeuse: Xavier Haubois (Observatoire de Paris), et al.; Epsilon Aurigae: John D. Monnier, University of Michigan
Interferometers in the Southern Hemisphere have examined Alpha Centauri, but as far as I am aware, no image of the system has yet been made.
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