Q:

What are some facts about the star Betelgeuse?

A:

Quick Answer

Betelgeuse is located on the shoulder of the Orion constellation and is one of the brightest stars in the sky. It is classified as a supernova and is predicted to explode within the next million years. Because it is 640 light years away, Betelgeuse is too far for its eventual explosion to cause any damage to Earth.

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Full Answer

The size of Betelgeuse fluctuates from 700 to 1,000 times the size of the sun. It has a surface temperature of 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit and is classified as a red giant. Red giants have used up all the hydrogen in their cores, turning it into helium. The helium makes the star larger, brighter and cooler. The red color is due to its lower temperature compared to other stars.

The red giant is the last phase before a star becomes a supernova. Becoming a supernova signals the end of a star's life. Stars progress through their life cycles at different rates, with heavier stars reaching the red giant phase more quickly than lighter stars. Betelgeuse reached the red giant phase at the age of 7 million years. The Earth's sun will not reach this phase until it is 10 billion years old. Larger stars become black holes after the explosion of the supernova.

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