smitty wrote: ↑
Mon May 11, 2020 3:54 pm
So is it no longer possible to get a serious answer to a serious question here?
I'll do my best to give you a serious answer to your question about possible planets around Betelgeuse. Mind you, planets are not
my forte. I'm a blue star and star forming galaxies nerd.
Anyway, Betelgeuse. According to Jim Kaler
, Betelgeuse started out as an O star, with a mass of (according to Kaler) 18 or 19 solar masses, and with a temperature (I would guess) of at least
30,000 K, and more likely perhaps 35,000 K. At that temperature, the young blue and blisteringly hot Betelgeuse would have emitted an absolute torrent of ultraviolet light, but, in comparison, much lower amounts of visible and infrared light. In short: If you want a star that will fry your retinas to a crisp and turn your body into one large tumour, an O-star like Betelgeuse would be the star for you. Don't expect to find any sort of distance from an O-star that will provide you with pleasant daylight and nice warmth while at the same time not giving you a continuous full body scan.
So that was what Betelgeuse was like in its first flush of youth. Betelgeuse is still young as stars go, but now it has swollen into monstrous proportions and cooled to a tenth of what its temperature used to be. Its "surface", if you can call it a surface (because Betelgeuse is bubbling and burping and swelling and shrinking and shedding body parts - I mean, shedding parts of its atmosphere - all over the place, so it would be really hard to say where Betelgeuse ends and where "empty space" begins), but whatever "surface" it has extends well beyond a distance corresponding to the orbit of Mars around the Sun, that much is certain.
Does this mean there can't be a planet orbiting Betelgeuse?
No, it absolutely doesn't mean that, and yes, there may certainly, certainly be planets in orbit around Betelgeuse! If you ask me, we have no reason whatsoever to believe that the whopping protoplanetary disks that give birth to massive stars can't also give rise to planets. If anything, I would guess that the massive disks that give birth to massive stars would be particularly good at making planets.
Of course, life on a planet orbiting Betelgeuse would be pure hell. I'd say it would be impossible.
A fascinating aspect about Betelgeuse, at least to me, is that it is a single star. Since I am so very interested in blue stars, I know that by far most really hot and massive blue stars are members of binary or multiple systems. So why is Betelgeuse single? Was it born as a hot, massive but single star? Maybe. But I wonder if it didn't have one or more stellar companions in its early youth, and then it lost those companions, one way or another. And if it lost its stellar companions, couldn't it have lost its planets as well?
Here's what I think. If Betelgeuse had planets at the distances of Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, it probably swallowed them when it grew to its present gigantic proportions. I guess the once-inner planets of Betelgeuse are no more.
As for any outer planets of Betelgeuse, I just don't know. Don't ask me. If Betelgeuse once had outer planets, then those planets might still be there, for all I know.
No planets have been discovered around Betelgeuse, but I guess it would be hard to look for planets around such a huge, bright, misshapen and variously-illuminated
star as Betelgeuse.