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Is the Sun the Biggest Thing in the Galaxy?

The Sun is the biggest object in our solar system. It is nearly a perfect sphere composed of hot gases (mostly hydrogen) and located in the center of our solar system. But is the Sun the biggest thing in the Milky Way galaxy? Not at all. Betelgeuse, a red giant, is about 700 times bigger and 14,000 times brighter than our Sun. A red giant is a large star that is in the last phase of its lifespan. Betelgeuse has a diameter of 600 million miles (about 965 million kilometers) and it emits almost 7,500 times more energy than the Sun. Since it has neared the end of its life, Betelgeuse may become a supernova and explode in the next ten thousand to one hundred thousand years.

Scientists believe that in about five billion years, our Sun will also become a red giant. As stars get older, they get bigger. At 4.5 billion years, the Sun is currently "middle-aged." Over time, it will get bigger and eventually use up all of its hydrogen. One theory is that the Sun will ultimately become large enough to encompass the orbits of some of the planets in the solar system, possibly including Earth.

More about the Sun:

  • The Latin name for the Sun is "sol." This is why the term "solar" is used when referring to phenomena pertaining to the Sun.

  • The Sun, which is classified as a G dwarf star, is actually white. The Sun appears to be yellow because of Earth's atmosphere.

  • It takes about eight minutes for light from the Sun to reach Earth. This sunlight drives climate and weather on Earth and supports life through photosynthesis.

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More Info: Space.com

Discuss this Article

anon995643
Post 2

@anon995642: it is pronounced "beetle juice".

anon995642
Post 1

How do you pronounce "Betelgeuse"?

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