A study this week revealed how our sun will turn into a planetary nebula in its death throes – but long before that, things will get pretty dire on Earth.
In about five billion years, the sun will expand to 100 times the size it is now, engulfing the surface of our planet in fire.
Anything, or anyone, that remains on the surface will die.
The only thing that might (possibly) survive the inferno is the rocky core of our planet, which might end up orbiting the cold, dead remains of the sun.
Scientists have had a sneak preview of our inevitable doom, by looking at L2 Puppis – a star which, five billion years ago, was very like our Sun is now.
Our solar system is 4.6 billion years old, while L2 Puppis is ten billion years old, offering a glimpse of what will happen to Earth in the far distant future.
‘Five billion years from now, the Sun will have grown into a red giant star, more than a hundred times larger than its current size,’ Professor Leen Decin from the KU Leuven Institute of Astronomy said in a statement.
After another two billion years, the sun will have lost a huge amount of mass through stellar wind – turning into a tiny white dwarf.
It will be about the size of the Earth, but so heavy that one teaspoon of white dwarf material weighs about five tons.
Decin says, ‘The fate of the Earth is still uncertain. We already know that our Sun will be bigger and brighter, so that it will probably destroy any form of life on our planet. But will the Earth’s rocky core survive the red giant phase and continue orbiting the white dwarf?’THINK YOUR FRIEND WOULD BE INTRESTED? SHARE THIS STORY USING ANY OF THE SHARE BUTTON BELOW ⬇ PLACE YOUR TEXT ADVERT BELOW:>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Beautiful end predicted for the Earth’s parent star in 10 billion years.
In about ten billion years from now, our sun will finally die, ejecting a mass of gas and dust into space – before its core finally burns out as its remaining fuel goes cold.
For thousands of years, it will glow as a twinkling planetary nebula, scientists say – a glowing cloud of dust in space.
University of Manchester scientists used computer modelling to work out whether our sun will turn into a glowing ‘planetary nebula’ after death.
A planetary nebula marks the end of 90% of all stars active lives and traces the star’s transition from a red giant to a degenerate white dwarf.
But, for years, scientists weren’t sure if the sun in our galaxy would follow the same fate: it was thought to have too low mass to create a visible planetary nebula.
Professor Albert Ziljsta says, ‘When a star dies it ejects a mass of gas and dust – known as its envelope – into space.
‘The envelope can be as much as half the star’s mass. This reveals the star’s core, which by this point in the star’s life is running out of fuel, eventually turning off and before finally dying.
‘It is only then the hot core makes the ejected envelope shine brightly for around 10,000 years – a brief period in astronomy. This is what makes the planetary nebula visible. Some are so bright that they can be seen from extremely large distances measuring tens of millions of light years, where the star itself would have been much too faint to see.’
Will there be any people left?
Long, long before the sun expands, all life on the surface will probably have been cooked into extinction, according to a 2013 study by University of East Anglia scientists.
Andrew Rushby of the University of East Anglia said in a statement, ‘ We estimate that Earth will cease to be habitable somewhere between 1.75 and 3.25 billion years from now.
‘After this point, Earth will be in the ‘hot zone’ of the sun, with temperatures so high that the seas would evaporate. We would see a catastrophic and terminal extinction event for all life.
‘Of course conditions for humans and other complex life will become impossible much sooner – and this is being accelerated by anthropogenic climate change.’