Monday, October 3, 2022

The Future of the Sun: When a Red Giant Star Swallows Earth

science future of the sun

When a red giant star eats the earth

NASA closeup of the Sun NASA closeup of the Sun

According to such a scenario, the maximum temperature of the Sun will reach around 6065 °C.

Them: NASA / SDO / DPA

It keeps getting bigger and hotter until the catastrophe: data from the Gaia satellite provides new insights into our central star. Observing countless stars allows researchers to make very accurate predictions about the future fate of the Sun and the planets that orbit it.

IIt sounds like the script of an apocalyptic science fiction film, but it is considered by scientists to be a plausible scenario: in about three and a half billion years, our Sun will begin to cool at the surface and expand into a red giant star in the process. which may devour all four inner planets – including Earth.

This terrifying sight is not new, but astronomers have now determined the timing and course of this catastrophe more accurately than ever before, as reported by the European Space Agency Essa. To do this, the researchers used recently published data from the Gaia satellite, which has been observing billions of stars with multiple telescopes since 2014.

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star catalog

“Only when we understand our Sun – and there is still much we don’t know about it – can we hope to understand all the other stars in our Milky Way,” from the Observatory Cte d’Azur in France Orlag Crewe explains. The extensive data analysis that he and his colleagues have done.

Stars are gradually increasing in size and temperature

To gain new insight into our Sun, researchers would have to look at a large number of similar stars. Because we see our Sun at the present time of its evolution, 4.57 billion years after its formation. Astronomers can predict the evolution of the Sun only by looking at several Sun-like stars of different ages.

The Gaia data offer this possibility because, in addition to movement, they also record the size, temperature, mass and chemical composition of stars. And a detailed analysis of this data will enable astronomers to determine the type of star – including its similarity to the Sun – and its age.

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What looks like a rough mountain on a moonlit evening is actually the edge of the nearby, young, star-forming region NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula.  Captured in infrared light by the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) on the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals previously obscure regions of star birth.  Called the Cosmic Cliffs, this region is actually the edge of a massive, gaseous cavity within NGC 3324, some 7,600 light-years away.  Above the region shown in this image, the cavernous region from the nebula is engulfed by intense ultraviolet radiation and stellar winds from the extremely massive, hot, young stars at the center of the bubble.  The high-energy radiation emanating from these stars is slowly destroying and carving the nebula's wall.  NIRCam - with its crisp resolution and unparalleled sensitivity - reveals hundreds of previously hidden stars and even many background galaxies.  Several key features in this image are described below.  celestial

In a first step, Crewe and his colleagues filtered out the stars with the most accurate values ​​from vast amounts of data. “We wanted to have the cleanest possible data set with high-precision measurements at our disposal,” emphasized the researcher. In a second step, the team filtered out all stars from this selection that resemble our Sun in terms of their mass and chemical composition.

The bottom line is that although all these stars are similar to the Sun, they differ greatly in age. Because as long as stars burn hydrogen in their interior into helium and thus generate their own radiation, their mass and composition have changed little. However, the situation is different with the size and temperature of stars: both are slowly expanding.

Maximum temperature around 6065 °C

Since the stars are similar to the Sun but of different ages, Krevy and his colleagues were able to determine how these stars – and thus our Sun – evolved over time. The result: When the sun is eight billion years old, its surface will reach a maximum temperature—about 20 degrees above today’s value of 6045 °C.

Then it starts to cool down and expands into a red giant. As a giant that keeps expanding, it can swallow the four inner planets Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. Only when there is no nuclear fusion inside the Sun – at ages ten to eleven billion years – does the red giant collapse into a white dwarf star roughly the size of Earth, which slowly cools over billions of years.

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This image released by NASA on Tuesday, July 12, 2022 shows the edge of the nearby, young, star-forming region NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula.  Captured in infrared light by the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) on the James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals previously obscure regions of star birth, according to NASA.  (NASA, ESA, CSA, and STSCI via AP)

As if that wasn’t enough, Crewey and his colleagues went a step further: from their data, they selected all stars that are also similar to the Sun in terms of temperature and size – and therefore of the same age as our central star. Huh . They found a total of 5883 “solar analogs” in this way – and this list is extremely valuable to astronomers all over the world.

Because precise observation of these stars can answer the question of how “normal” our Sun is. Or whether the emergence of life on Earth depends on the fact that the Sun has special properties that set it apart from other stars.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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