You remember Betelgeuse from science class, don’t you? It’s the reddish star in Orion’s shoulder and one of the biggest stars in our galaxy. Star Date says this about the enormity of the star:
It may be up to a billion miles across. At that size, if it took the Sun’s place in our solar system, it would extend all the way to Jupiter, the fifth planet out.
Betelgeuse has shrunk by more than a hundred million miles in the past two decades and it’s headed for a fate I hope to avoid, myself: It’s doomed to explode as a supernova. Sometime in the next few million years.
(photo by Matthew Spinelli )