How will the sun die? A new study has some ideas

10 May, 2018, 06:55 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • The sun will explode and turn our solar system into a ball of super hot gas

It's this rapid heating that allows smaller stars, our Sun included, to create a brilliant planetary nebula. "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", Zijlstra explained in a statement. Stars even just a few percent smaller than our sun do not produce any planetary nebula at all - even our own star will only produce a faint one.

This model could also predict how luminous a star's envelope (which it expels upon death) would be, and it determined that even a low-mass star like our sun will heat up extremely quickly when it dies.

Using a new computer model, they found that rather than simply fading away as previously thought, the dying sun will transform into a stunning planetary nebula visible for millions of light years around.

"The hot core makes the ejected envelope shine brightly for around 10,000 years-a brief period in astronomy", he said. In a new research paper published in Nature Astronomy a team of astronomers from around the world crunch the numbers and attempt to paint a picture of what will happen to our star billions of years from now.

However, the new model proves that it's actually quite easy for old, low mass stars to form bright planetary nebulae.

There are several space mysteries that have been solved and remain unsolved, but scientists and astronomers have finally put one of the widely-discussed debates to rest about how our sun is going to die.

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This is true for a majority of all active stars, but researchers were unsure if the sun would follow the same process because of its low mass.

Before that, however, the aging star is forecast to turn into a red giant, with the core of it crumpling and shrinking, while its outer layers will exponentially grow to engulf our planet along the way, if it hasn't ceased to exist by then. A team of scientist believe that it will become a bright planetary Nebula following its death.

If the thought of our sun's demise has kept you up at night, this settles the score after almost 25 years. Data collected by ground and space telescopes suggested all the brightest nebulae were equally bright, regardless of the galaxies they were found in. This contributes luminosity, making the nebula visible, despite the low mass. Yellow dwarf stars live for about 10 billion years, and at 4.5 billion years old, our middle-age sun is about halfway through its lifetime.

According to Zijlstra, this new study yielded a "nice result". So far, researchers could estimate its existence will end in about 10 billion years.

"Not only do we now have a way to measure the presence of stars of ages a few billion years in distant galaxies, which is a range that is remarkably hard to measure, we even have found out what the sun will do when it dies", concluded Zijlstra.

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