• Question: If our sun collided into beetle juice,what would happen and how big would it be?

    Asked by Sum-Ting-Wong to Gavin, Karen, Mark, Michel, Roisin on 4 Nov 2016.
    • Photo: Karen

      Karen answered on 4 Nov 2016:

      This is not my area of expertise, I’d imagine it would be huge but will leave it to the physics experts to Answer! All I can think of is the movie of Beetlejuice…

    • Photo: Mark Kennedy

      Mark Kennedy answered on 4 Nov 2016:

      Let’s talk some big, big numbers here!

      The Sun has a mass of 1.531X10^32 kg (that number is written in something we call scientific notation. The full number is 153,100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg). To make it easier, I’m going to say the mass of the Sun is 1 Solar mass.

      The physical size of the Sun is also massive. The Sun is a sphere with a radius of 695,700 km (that’s the same as 1,431 Ireland’s stacked on top of each other!). To make it easier, I’m going to say the Sun has a radius of 1 Solar radius.

      The Sun is a G5 type star – that just means it’s quite a common type of star that really isn’t very hot or very big. The main source of fuel in the Sun is hydrogen.

      Betelgeuse, on the other hand, is a VERY, VERY BIG STAR. It’s what we call a Red Giant, and is nearing the end of its lifetime, which means its mean source of fuel is helium, and it doesn’t have very much hydrogen left. Betelgeuse has a mass of 7.7 Solar masses (meaning it’s 7.7 times heavier than the Sun). However, because of how hard it is to burn helium, the radius of Betelgeuse is 1,180 Solar radii (that mean’s it’s radius is equivalent to 1,180 Suns lined up, or 1,688,850 Irelands :O ). So if the Sun collided with Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse would just swallow it (along with the Earth, and us) up!

      Thankfully, the odds of this happening are pretty much 0% (if you want to know why it’s not exactly 0%, ask your local quantum physicist). Much more worrying is what will happen to the Earth with the Sun runs out of hydrogen, and gets really big like Betelgeuse.

    • Photo: Michel Destrade

      Michel Destrade answered on 4 Nov 2016:

      Haha, thanks Mark for figuring that one out! I too thought of the movie Beetlejuice and then I was lost.

    • Photo: Roisin Jones

      Roisin Jones answered on 5 Nov 2016:

      I am going to defer to Mark’s excellent answer here, definitely his area of expertise! Like Karen, all I could think of was the movie!

    • Photo: Gavin Coleman

      Gavin Coleman answered on 7 Nov 2016:

      I want to say the best and biggest fireworks show that earth has ever seen, but really I don’t know 🙁 Luckily Mark does!