Betelgeuse, a bright reddish star in the constellation Orion. It is about 495 light-years from the earth, though some measurements put it at about 640 light-years away. Its color indicates a relatively low surface temperature of about 5,000° F. (2,800° C.), about half that of the sun. Betelgeuse is a variable star that fluctuates irregularly in size and brightness. At its smallest, Betelgeuse has a diameter some 300 times that of the sun; its greatest diameter is about one-third larger than this. Betelgeuse is classified in the group of largest known stars, the supergiants.
It's tough to wrap your mind around a time when the Earth wasn't here. So how do Earth and the rest of the planets out there get their start in the universe?
The occasional sunspot can interrupt communications here on Earth. But major solar flares have the potential to cause more havoc. Could a flare-up wipe out all our electronics?