Friday, October 4, 2013

Death From the Skies: How Our Solar System Will Die

Just as the life on Earth is dependent upon the energy from the sun for sustenance, so too does the fate of our solar system hinge on the sun's survival. Our sun, which is classified as a yellow dwarf (a misnomer since the sun is neither small, nor yellow), is a middle age star that's approximately 5 billion years old. As a main-sequence star with a finite lifespan, it will eventually die. This end will occur following the depletion of the last of the hydrogen forged in its core. As this happens, the core of the sun will shrink under its own gravity and become so dense that the helium atoms will begin to collide to form carbon and oxygen atoms. The collisions of said elements will churn out more energy than the current amount that is produced by the sun's fusion of hydrogen into helium (which in turn, provides nourishment to Earth and all of the neighboring planets in our solar system) .

The extra energy will prove to be the beginning of the end for home (no, I don't mean your house; I mean the Earth). For one, the core will increase in temperature, causing the sun to swell to hundreds of times its present size, changing its status from a yellow dwarf to a red giant, which will certainly be the end of the two innermost planets of our solar system, Mercury and Venus (both will be incinerated in the initial expansion).

What will happen to Earth and the rest of the planets? Find out at


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