How would life be different if Earth orbited Betelgeuse instead of our sun?

8 Answers

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Betelgeuse, also known by its Bayer designation Alpha Orionis (α Orionis, α Ori), is the eighth brightest star in the night sky and second brightest star in the constellation of Orion, outshining its neighbour Rigel (Beta Orionis) only rarely. Distinctly reddish-tinted, it is a semiregular variable star whose apparent magnitude varies between 0.2 and 1.2, the widest range of any first magnitude star. The star marks the upper right vertex of the Winter Triangle and center of the Winter Hexagon.

    Classified as a red supergiant, Betelgeuse is one of the largest and most luminous stars known. If it were at the center of our Solar System, its surface would extend past the asteroid belt possibly to the orbit of Jupiter and beyond, wholly engulfing Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. However, with distance estimates in the last century that have ranged anywhere from 180 to 1,300 light years from Earth, calculating its diameter, luminosity and mass have proven difficult. Betelgeuse is currently thought to lie around 640 light years away, yielding a mean absolute magnitude of about −6.05.

    In 1920, Alpha Ori was the first star (after the Sun) to have its angular diameter measured. Since then, researchers have used a number of telescopes to measure this stellar giant, each with different technical parameters, often yielding conflicting results. Current estimates of the star's diameter range from about .043 to .056 arcseconds, a moving target at best, as Betelgeuse appears to change shape periodically. Because of limb darkening, variability, and angular diameters that vary with wavelength, the star remains a perplexing mystery. To complicate matters further, Betelgeuse has a complex, asymmetric envelope caused by colossal mass loss involving huge plumes of gas being expelled from its surface. There is even evidence of stellar companions orbiting within this gaseous envelope, possibly contributing to the star's eccentric behavior.

    Astronomers believe Betelgeuse is only 10 million years old, but has evolved rapidly because of its high mass. It is thought to be a runaway star from the Orion OB1 Association, which also includes the late type O and B stars in Orion's belt—Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. Currently in a late stage of stellar evolution, Betelgeuse is expected to explode as a type II supernova, possibly within the next million years. Because Betelgeuse is between 497 and 789 lightyears away from Earth, Betelgeuse may have already become a supernova centuries ago; if so, the light is still in transit.

    So literally if Betelgeuse was our sun it would have become a supernova.

    1 bad thing. The explosion would kill us.

    2. I we survive the supernova it will become a black dwarf and suck us in via black hole. lol

  • 10 years ago

    It depends on how far away from Betelgeuse its orbit was. If the earth's orbit was the same size it is now, and you just replaced Sol with Betelgeuse, it would be completely different... because the earth would be deep inside the super-giant star.

    If it was the same distance from the star's surface as we are from our sun (93 million miles), it would be completely different... because the earth still would be vaporized and blown out into space.

    If it was far enough for the earth not to be burned up, then people like us would die of old age before we turned one year old...since it would take more than 300 earth years to go around our big red sun once.

    But it's not certain that Betelgeuse can even have planets because of how drastically it changes it's size... from the orbit of Mars, sometimes expanding to a diameter of a billion miles, which would be way out between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn!

    So, we'd best stick with our sun Sol. :)

  • 10 years ago

    There wouldn't BE any. Betelgeuse is easily large enough that if the Earth were positioned as far from its center as it currently is from the Sun, it would be completely enveloped. The resistance from the gas would quickly cause its orbit to stop and it would disintegrate as it fell towards the core.

  • 10 years ago

    In every single way the would of been a totally different set of circumstances when life was first formed or not formed! I would say use your imagination but we could be beyond human imagination at betelgeuse

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  • 10 years ago

    Depends how far away we were. In the solar life cycle of a G4 star (our Sun) one day it will be a red giant like Betelgeuse. We'll all be off on the Starship Enterprise and its' sister ships by then...hopefully.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    In the same place as it orbits the sun, we would all be evaporated.

  • 10 years ago

    The movie? Then yes. Life would be VERY different.

  • Max
    Lv 4
    10 years ago

    The movie Beetlejuice would have been spelled correctly.

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