Facts about the universe are a great way to discuss large numbers with your students.
Betelgeuse is a red supergiant star from the Orion constellation. It is 640 light years away from Earth. That’s a very long way away. In a vacuum, light travels at 299 792 kilometres per second.
Betelgeuse is up to 20 times more massive than our sun. The mass of the sun is 1.989 x 1030 kilograms, about 333 000 times the mass of the Earth.
Red supergiant stars have neared the end of their lifetime and have substantially expanded. Betelgeuse has a radius of approximately 900 times that of our sun. Our sun’s radius is 696 340 km. If the sun was this size, its surface would nearly reach Jupiter.
Scientists predict that this star may explode soon, becoming a supernova. Well … maybe sometime in the next 100 000 years!