The next time you’re peering through a telescope, look between the constellations Libra and Sagittarius and you’ll find the constellation Scorpius. It’s sort of stuck in the middle of a bunch of other stars. Once you find it though, it might be difficult to make out the actual shape of a scorpion. I never see the shapes of those constellations… Oh well.

But more impressive than the constellation itself is one of its stars: Alpha Scorpii, which is more commonly known as “Antares.” Antares is the brightest star in the Scorpius constellation and usually the fifteenth brightest star in the night sky, which is incredible because it is more than five hundred fifty light-years from our Sun! Antares (or, more precisely, Antares A) is part of a binary system, as it has a smaller brother star known as “Antares B.” But since big brother literally outshines little brother, we really mean Antares A whenever we refer to Antares.

Antares is a red giant, which is the largest class of stars. And when I say large, I mean gargantuan. To put the size of Antares into perspective, let’s consider the Sun. It is one hundred nine times larger than the Earth in diameter and it has an incredible three hundred thirty-three thousand times more mass. The Sun also accounts for about 98 percent of the mass of our solar system, which includes the big planets, although those are primarily made of gas.

So, we know the Sun is quite a bit bigger than our planet, but now I’m really going to blow your mind.

Antares has eighteen times the mass and eight hundred fifty times the diameter of the Sun. The star’s red glow is sometimes so impressive that the ancient Greeks and Romans thought that it was the brother of Mars, which is how it got its name (Before Ares/Mars).

If you happen to be around in the next ten thousand years, you might even have the chance to watch Antares go supernova. When it does, it will be as bright as the moon at night and will be visible during the day.

But, it will probably give you the world’s worst sunburn.