Our Sun is not as old as other stars in the universe. However, scientists are already attempting to predict when the Sun will die. Of course, it’s not as simple as announcing a date.
After all, we’re dealing with a massive ball of energy that we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of. Scientists, on the other hand, have figured out a few key points about the Sun’s future, including the end of its current life phase.
While the Sun’s full death is still trillions of years away, some scientists believe the current phase of its life cycle will end as soon as 5 billion years from now. The massive star at the core of our Solar System will have consumed most of its hydrogen core by that time.
The Sun as we know it will have effectively died. When this happens, the Sun will turn into a red giant. It will stop creating heat through nuclear fusion. According to NASA, around this time, the core will become unstable and contract.
When the core of the Sun becomes unstable, the outer layers of the Sun expand. Mercury and Venus will eventually be swallowed up by this expansion. Furthermore, the Sun’s rough solar winds will pound the Earth, robbing it of the magnetic field that generates its atmosphere. It’s a scary time to think about, especially for any life—human or non-human—that might remain all those years from now. Of course, there’s a slew of other threats from the Sun before that happens.
While the thought of the Sun dying is scary, there is a chance that humanity will not be alive to experience it.
According to scientists, the Earth’s oceans will be vaporized by the Sun’s energy in a billion years. At that point, the Sun’s brightness will have increased by about 10%. Other climate-change-related threats must also be considered.
Finally, scientists think that the Earth’s future is bleak. Perhaps this is why so many people are so obsessed with space travel and colonizing other planets. It would not only allow humanity to continue surviving, but it would also provide us with a new home to return to when the Sun eventually dies.
BGR’s Joshua Hawkins contributed to this report.