What Will Happen To Earth When The Sun Dies?

What will happen to Earth when the Sun runs out of fuel and dies? Watch this video and find out!


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Script –
Our galaxy, The Milky Way is estimated to contain more than 100 billion stars, many of which can be seen glistening away in the nights sky. But stars, just like everything else, do not last forever and eventually the intense reaction that causes a star to burn, will stop. The sun was born roughly 4.6 billion years ago and without its heat and light, nothing on Earth would exist. Every second it consumes more than 600 million tonnes of hydrogen and converts into helium, a process known as nuclear fusion. It is currently half way through its most stable part of its life cycle and is classified as a “main sequence” star. But Just like all of the other stars out there, the sun only has a limited amount of fuel, which means eventually it will die. However, long before our star disappears, life on our planet will be faced with its greatest every threat, an ageing Sun. Every billion years or so the Suns luminosity increases by around 10%, this means that the Earth will become continuously hotter and brighter the older the Sun becomes. Many scientists have estimated that in one billion years from now, on average, the temperature of Earth could be around 70 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Fahrenheit). If they are correct, then over time animals and plant life would likely perish due to this increased heat. Humans might survive the longest by moving under ground, storing food and only coming out at night, but like the rest of planet, the Sun would eventually wipe us out as well. As the heat continues to increase, around two billion years from now, the oceans, seas, rivers and lakes would slowly evaporate into the atmosphere causing a green house effect to occur and the surface of Earth would become a desert world. Within 3.5 billion years the Sun would shine almost 40% brighter and Earth would become a planet much like today’s Venus. But the Sun hasn’t finished yet, around 4 to 5 billion years from now it will of used up its core hydrogen supply and start to burn helium instead. This will cause the outer regions to swell and expand outwards in to the solar system. Because of this, the Sun is no longer a main sequence star, but is now classed as a Red giant. The expansion of the Red giant will be devastating for the inner planets, Mercury and Venus, as they are vaporised by its ever growing surface. The Earth at this point will either share the same fate as Mercury and Venus or will be so close to the Red giant, that it becomes burnt to a crisp, maybe resembling something like today’s Mercury. The outer planets of the solar system would warm up, and moons like Europa would thaw, its miles thick Icy crust would melt into a liquid under the heat of the red giant that is now twenty times larger than the sun we see on Earth today. When the Suns supply of helium is nearly depleted it will become completely unstable and start a series of thermal pulses. Within time these pulsations will blast away its outer layer until all that is left is an object about the size of Earth and is called a white dwarf. Surrounding the white dwarf will be a planetary nebula that could be visible for any civilisation existing within a few hundred light years of our former stellar neighbourhood. But the feeble white dwarf at its centre, that was once our mighty Sun will slowly cool and fade, until it becomes cold and dark. Then the Suns journey would of ended, never to shine again. But don’t worry, by the time this all happens, our species would either be extinct or maybe living on distant planet, reading about the Sun, the star that started it all.
Attributions –
Milky Way Zoom – NASA/JWT
Sun Zoom In – NASA
Sun Solar Flares – NASA
Sunset Timelapse – Ben Bunch (Vimeo)
Floor to Forest – Videvo
Mist Rising From Lake – (The Rising Sun) Paul Frederick (Vimeo)
Desert Earth Flyover – (Mission Mars) – Thorsten König
Sun Expansion Scene – Videvo
Music – At the Foot of the Sphinx – by Twin Musicom

All content is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0



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