Researchers estimate that in billions of years’ time when the Sun will burn out, it will spark a massive nebula or a glowing ring of interstellar dust and gas.
Scientists have been known for decades that the Sun will eventually run out of fuel and die, but the type of death has been largely unclear.
An international research team, though, has a new theory.
- Researchers’ computer models revealed that our host star will not fade away – as previously speculated.
- It will morph into a massive planetary nebula which will glow for tens of thousands of years.
Researchers estimate that the nebula will be visible from other galaxies like the Andromeda galaxy, which is located 2.5 million light-years away.
Our Sun is currently halfway through its lifetime, according to scientists. It should last for up to 5 billion years more and die when the supply of hydrogen in its core will run dry. At that time, the core will collapse triggering nuclear reactions that will turn the Sun into a red giant.
The Resulting Planetary Nebula Will Shine for 10,000 Years
When that happens, Venus and Mercury will be engulfed. As a red giant, our host star will shed half of its mass, according to researchers from Argentina and Poland. Next, the core’s temperature will start to rise, generating huge amounts of UV light and X-Rays lighting up the ring of plasma around the Sun. Researchers estimate that the resulting nebula will glow for around 10,000 years.
Past studies have suggested that the core would increase its temperature too slow to make the nebula shine. By the time the core hits 30,000 degrees C, the outer ring of plasma would be long gone, past research suggests.
By contrast, the latest research speculates that the core would reach the required temperatures between 5,000 to 10,000 years, offering the outer layers enough time to shine.
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