The Sun's End: Predicting the Inevitable

  • Thread starter flyinhigh
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In summary, the Sun will die in the future, but it will take a long time. There is no certain date or generation that will be doomed, and humans will not be around to see it.
  • #1
flyinhigh
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all stars die... this is a given... will we be advanced enough to accurately predict the death of our sun to a specific year or decade and by the same generation that will be doomed as a result?
 
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  • #2
flyinhigh said:
all stars die... this is a given... will we be advanced enough to accurately predict the death of our sun to a specific year or decade and by the same generation that will be doomed as a result?

It will be a relatively slow process. There is no such thing as a specific year, or even decade, when it will happen.
 
  • #3
Since the Sun is not massive enough to undergo a supernova, there are no sudden events that happen on that timescale other than possibly a helium flash. It's just a long, slow process from main sequence to stellar remnant.

See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun#Life_phases
 
  • #4
In addition to that, one has to be aware of the time scales. To think that there even would be any humans five billion years in the future to worry about the Sun going out, is rather, uh, optimistic.

Then there's the fact that the Sun, as all main-sequence stars do, is getting hotter and more luminous as it ages, pushing the habitable zone boundary farther and farther away.
Meaning, after a couple billion years tops, the Earth will be inhabitable only to extremophile bacteria.
Have a look here:
http://astro.unl.edu/naap/habitablezones/animations/stellarHabitableZone.html
to see a simplified model of the progression of the habitable zone over stellar lifetimes.

There won't be anyone left on Earth to witness the final stages of our star's evolution long(i.e., LONG) before it goes out.
 
  • #5
Another thing that must be considered, is that humans and our way of interaction with (dependance on) the environment around us is a very delicate balance between many different factors. Change things slightly, and we are no more. As a species, even if everything we do to destroy the Earth stops today, life for 'us' on Earth is going to become a concern in as 'little' as 50million years.

http://www.astronomycast.com/2008/09/ep-108-the-life-of-the-sun/


Damo
 
  • #6
Well, I don't think 50 million years presents any signficant problems, if 50,000 years doesn't. The fact is, we really have no idea how highly intelligent species (those that have advanced communication and use it to develop advanced technology) go extinct. We don't even know if such high intelligence extends the species lifespan, or truncates it dramatically! So yes, worrying about the Sun seems low on our list.
 
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Related to The Sun's End: Predicting the Inevitable

1. What is the Sun's End?

The Sun's End refers to the eventual death of our sun, when it will run out of fuel and cease to shine.

2. Can we predict when the Sun's End will occur?

Yes, scientists have been able to use mathematical models and observations of other stars to predict that the Sun will likely die in about 5 billion years.

3. What will happen to Earth when the Sun dies?

As the Sun's fuel runs out, it will expand into a red giant, engulfing and destroying the inner planets, including Earth.

4. Is there anything we can do to prevent the Sun's End?

No, the Sun's death is a natural process that cannot be prevented. However, scientists are researching ways to prolong the Sun's life through nuclear fusion or finding alternative sources of energy.

5. How will the Sun's End affect other objects in our solar system?

The outer planets, such as Jupiter and Saturn, may survive the Sun's expansion, but their orbits will likely change. Other objects, such as comets and asteroids, will be ejected from the solar system.

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