# Betelgeuse! Betelgeuse! Betelgeuse! Quiz

A photo quiz by bernie73. Estimated time: 5 mins.

Author
bernie73
Time
5 mins
Type
Photo Quiz
Quiz #
399,157
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Tough
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
170
Last 3 plays: Guest 24 (1/10), Guest 174 (7/10), Guest 107 (0/10).
1. The star Betelgeuse can be found in the constellation of Orion. From the perspective of an observer on earth, in what part of Orion can Betelgeuse be found? Hint

In the sword
In the waist
In the shoulders
In the knees

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2. From which time period do we have the first surviving description of Betelgeuse by an astronomer? Hint

1501-2000 CE
1-1000 CE
1000-1 BCE
1001-1500 CE

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3. Since Betelgeuse is a red giant, it is larger than our Sun. According to most estimates of its size, which best describes the size of Betelgeuse compared to the size of the Sun? Hint

Its diameter is between twice and five times the Sun's diameter.
It's diameter is between ten times and twenty times the Sun's diameter.
Its diameter is between five times and ten times the Sun's diameter.
Its diameter is more than twenty times the Sun's diameter.

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4. If one compared the mass of Betelgeuse to the Sun, what would be the most likely result? Hint

Betelgeuse is about ten times as massive as the Sun.
Betelgeuse is about as massive as the Sun.
Betelgeuse is about one hundred times as massive as the Sun.
Betelgeuse is about one thousand times as massive as the Sun.

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5. How does the surface temperature of the red giant Betelgeuse compare with the yellow Sun? Hint

Betelgeuse's surface temperature is less than two-thirds of the Sun.
Betelgeuse's surface temperature is about twice that of the Sun.
Betelgeuse's surface temperature is almost the same as the Sun.
Betelgeuse's surface temperature is about five times that of the Sun.

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6. During which time of the year can Betelgeuse be best seen by the majority of locations on Earth? Hint

Mid-December to Mid-June
Mid-September to Mid-March
Mid-March to Mid-September
Mid-June to Mid-March

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7. Roughly speaking, how far is Betelgeuse from the Sun? Hint

320 light years
1,280 light years
160 light years
640 light years

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8. What do most astronomers estimate is the age of Betelgeuse? Hint

Over six billion years old
Less than one billion years old

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9. Betelgeuse is a fairly slow-rotating star. At what speed is it believed to rotate? Hint

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10. What is the most likely fate of Betelgeuse when it reaches the end of its lifespan and explodes? Hint

It will become a brown dwarf
It will become a neutron star
It will become a green lantern
It will become a blue quazar

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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The star Betelgeuse can be found in the constellation of Orion. From the perspective of an observer on earth, in what part of Orion can Betelgeuse be found?

If Orion were a living person and facing us head-on, Betelgeuse would appear about where his right shoulder would be. The important point in the question is "from the perspective of an observer on earth". The stars are not actually lined up that way when observed from another perspective, lying between 243 and 1360 light years away from Earth. Because of its association with Orion, Betelgeuse is sometimes referred to as Alpha Orionis. When translated from the Arabic, Betelgeuse means "the armpit of Orion" or "the hand of Orion".

The diagram shows the constellation Orion with very little in the way of the head.
2. From which time period do we have the first surviving description of Betelgeuse by an astronomer?

The first century CE Greek astronomer Ptolemy observed Betelgeuse describing its redness. Roughly three centuries before that Chinese astronomers described Betelgeuse, indicating it had a more yellowish hue. This difference suggests that Betelgeuse may be relatively young, as stars go. These astronomers even used Betelgeuse as an example of a yellow star in descriptions of various types of stars. This suggests that during this time Betelgeuse may have evolved from a hydrogen-burning star in the main sequence to a red gas giant.

The picture shows a heart with the name Johnny. Johnny Hart was the cartoonist who created the comic strip "B.C."
3. Since Betelgeuse is a red giant, it is larger than our Sun. According to most estimates of its size, which best describes the size of Betelgeuse compared to the size of the Sun?

Answer: Its diameter is more than twenty times the Sun's diameter.

It is hard to get an exact measurement of Betelgeuse's diameter but studies suggest a range of 1.2 to 8.9 Astronomical Units (AU). The AU is equivalent to the average distance between the Earth and the Sun, about 149,600,000 kilometers. The distance between the Sun and Mars is about 1.5 AU. Ceres (in the Asteroid Belt) is about 2.7 AU. Jupiter is about 5.5 AU. Saturn is relatively not far beyond the range at 9.5 AU.

The Sun has a diameter of about 1,392,000 kilometers. Even the most conservative answer for Betelgeuse would lead to a diameter of about 179,500,000 kilometers, more than 100 times larger.

The diagram shows a set of colored circles with the red circle the largest, suggesting that the correct answer was the largest.
4. If one compared the mass of Betelgeuse to the Sun, what would be the most likely result?

The mass of the Sun is about 2X10 to the 30th power kilograms. The estimated range for Betelgeuse is about 9.5 to 21 times the mass of the Sun. Some scientists believe that Betelgeuse had more mass earlier in its lifespan.

The picture shows two cubes. One is about ten times as large as the other in each dimension. One dimension has an arrow pointing to it and the other two dimensions have "X"s.
5. How does the surface temperature of the red giant Betelgeuse compare with the yellow Sun?

Answer: Betelgeuse's surface temperature is less than two-thirds of the Sun.

The surface temperature of the Sun is about 5,778 degrees Kelvin. By comparison, the surface temperature of Betelgeuse is about 3,500 degrees Kelvin.

The picture shows a thermometer reading a lower temperature, suggesting that Betelgeuse is cooler than the sun.
6. During which time of the year can Betelgeuse be best seen by the majority of locations on Earth?

The main exception to this would be Antarctica south of 82 degrees South Latitude. The best time of the year to view Betelgeuse is mid-December. Along with Sirius and Procyon, Betelgeuse is part of the Winter Triangle in the nighttime sky.

The picture shows images of a jack-o-lantern (Halloween--October), a Christmas tree (December), and a heart (Valentine's Day--February).
7. Roughly speaking, how far is Betelgeuse from the Sun?

More specifically Betelgeuse is about 642.5 light years from the sun. The light-year is about 9,460,000,000,000 kilometers. Astronomers use the minute movement that Betelgeuse and other stars make in the sky as the Earth orbits around the Sun to estimate the distance of these stars.

The picture shows a group of stars arranged in an eight-by-eight pattern. The stars total 64 and might suggest 640 light years.
8. What do most astronomers estimate is the age of Betelgeuse?

Answer: Less than one billion years old

Betelgeuse is far less than one billion years old with common estimates suggesting that it is about ten million years old. Betelgeuse's large size and high level of consumption of its hydrogen will lead to it having a much shorter lifespan than smaller stars such as the Sun. It has been suggested that Betelgeuse's lifespan may end in another million years.

The picture shows a set of numbers with the one being the largest and in red (such as the red gas giant Betelgeuse).
9. Betelgeuse is a fairly slow-rotating star. At what speed is it believed to rotate?

By comparison, Antares, another red supergiant, rotates at about 20 km/sec. It is estimated that it takes Betelgeuse about 8.4 years to do a complete rotation about its axis. Some scientists have even suggested that Betelgeuse does not rotate.

This picture shows two hands doing a "high-five".
10. What is the most likely fate of Betelgeuse when it reaches the end of its lifespan and explodes?

Answer: It will become a neutron star

As Betelgeuse ages, it will shift from burning hydrogen, to burning first helium, and then heavier elements, ending with iron. Betelgeuse will likely become a neutron star, as is common among stars with masses between 10 and 29 times that of the sun. Neutron stars are much smaller than red supergiants or even average sized stars such as the Sun. A typical sized neutron star has a radius of about 10 kilometers. A neutron star does not usually generate additional heat and will cool over time.

The picture shows a circle with an absence of color (other than the border), hopefully leading you away from the "color" choices to the correct answer.
Source: Author bernie73

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor rossian before going online.
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