Friday, May 25, 2018
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help   RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

Scientists reveal the Sun's ultimate fate

Posted on Tuesday, 8 May, 2018 | Comment icon 22 comments

The Sun will not last forever. Image Credit: SOHO/EIT
When our star eventually dies, it will go out in a blaze of glory and produce what is known as a planetary nebula.
At 4.6 billion years old, our Sun is vital to the survival of all life on Earth and always has been.

Originally formed from the gravitational collapse of matter within a large molecular cloud, our star is 109 times larger (in terms of diameter) and 330,000 times more massive than the Earth.

In around 5 billion years from now, it will expand to over 250 times its current size, swallowing up Mercury, Venus and the Earth as it becomes what is known as a red giant.

Exactly what will happen next however has long remained a topic of debate among scientists, but now an international team of astronomers believe that they may have finally found the answer.

In most cases, as a main-sequence star dies, it will collapse from a red giant in to a white dwarf, producing a glowing ring of gas and dust known as a planetary nebula.

Using a new model that can predict the life-cycle of stars, scientists have now been able to confirm that this is likely to happen in the case of the Sun as well.

"When a star dies it ejects a mass of gas and dust - known as its envelope - into space," said Professor Albert Zijlstra from the University of Manchester.

"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."

Source: Sky News | Comments (22)

Tags: Sun, Red Giant, Nebula

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #13 Posted by SmartAZ on 14 May, 2018, 3:23
You can not rely on predictions of the future from people who can't even get the present straight. They assume the sun is powered by fusion, which implies the inside is hotter than the outside, and the reverse is true. Anybody who points that out gets personal insults in return. Scientists would rather be wrong than uncertain.
Comment icon #14 Posted by psyche101 on 14 May, 2018, 3:27
How do you come to this conclusion? That's not my experience
Comment icon #15 Posted by pallidin on 15 May, 2018, 6:51
The Sun is powered by fusion. That's a common fact. What else could all the stars in our universe be powered by?
Comment icon #16 Posted by danydandan on 15 May, 2018, 20:29
I'm pretty sure the Nanoflares paper cleared it up nicely.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 16 May, 2018, 20:31
He's come to that conclusion by hugely misinterpreting a single fact. The fact: the temperature of the solar photosphere is around 6,000oC, As you move away from the photosphere into the corona the temperature rises to several million oC. This rise in temperature is not fully understood. The misinterpretation: The photosphere is the visible surface of the sun, the corona is the very tenuous atmosphere above the photosphere. The outside of the sun IS NOT hotter than the inside. As already pointed out the surface of the sun is only 6,000oC. The core of the sun is at 15 MILLIONoC, considerably ho... [More]
Comment icon #18 Posted by danydandan on 17 May, 2018, 23:33
I think the SI units you used are incorrect, I think you mean Kelvin not Degrees Celsius ? So traveling outwards from the Core, which 15.7 million degree Kelvin, then the Radiative Zone, which is between 2 and 7 million degree Kelvin, then the Convection Zone which is less that 2 million degree Kelvin, then finally the Photosphere 5778 degree Kelvin. I think most people who think the inside of the sun is cooler than the outside if the Sun have no clue what the difference between temperature and heat is. So for anyone who doesn't understand heat is the transfer of energy from a hotter system to... [More]
Comment icon #19 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 18 May, 2018, 8:10
Nit picking. With temperatures this high it makes no practical difference.
Comment icon #20 Posted by danydandan on 18 May, 2018, 8:12
Just spreading the love.
Comment icon #21 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 18 May, 2018, 8:13
Really. Try spreading factually correct love.
Comment icon #22 Posted by danydandan on 18 May, 2018, 8:16
I am hence the SI corrections. Edit: In retrospect, I must apologise as the difference between Kelvins and Celsius is negligible at these temperatures, as you stated and what I was doing was nitpicking. But it wasn't meant that way. So humblest apologies.

Please Login or Register to post a comment.

  On the forums
New tests cast doubt on 'impossible' EmDrive
Researchers in Germany may have found an explanation for the thrust produced by the controversial drive.
New fossil find prompts Pangaea split rethink
A new fossil discovery has revealed that the early supercontinent split more slowly than previously believed.
Florida city sends out zombie alert message
Lake Worth residents were shocked to receive an alert warning them about zombies earlier this week.
Loch Ness DNA tests to aid in hunt for Nessie
Scientists are aiming to learn exactly what types of creatures are living in Scotland's enigmatic loch.
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
Can an artificial intelligence really think ?
Posted 5-22-2018 | 9 comments
AI computer systems may be intelligent, but can they ever be truly self-aware ?
Where are all the B batteries ?
Posted 5-20-2018 | 3 comments
Batteries such as AA and AAA are common, but where are all the other letters ?
Meerkats caught in a dust storm
Posted 5-15-2018 | 1 comment
This group of meerkats in the Kalahari desert must split up to hide and survive the storm.
10 times Michio Kaku blew our minds
Posted 5-12-2018 | 2 comments
A look at some of theoretical physicist Michio Kaku's most mind-bending arguments.
Density ball
Posted 5-9-2018 | 0 comments
Michael takes a look at a ball with some rather unusual properties.
 View: More videos
Stories & Experiences
Mystery bristle brush
5-9-2018 | Whittier, U.S.A.
Dreams and clues to the future
3-31-2018 | Philippines and Germany
Black cloaked figure
3-31-2018 | Carlisle, Cumbria, England
Three knocks
3-8-2018 | Canada
Two shadows of me
3-8-2018 | Bellflower, LA
I think I know what I saw
3-5-2018 | Near Sultan, Washington
Ghost, or something else ?
3-5-2018 | Ohio, USA
Black hole in Bismarck
2-14-2018 | Mandan

         More stories | Send us your story
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.7 2001-2018
Terms   |   Privacy Policy   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ