There are those who call it the end of the world, those who dare with the term “apocalypse”. Whatever words are used, the death of the Sun it is one of those events that has always fascinated and at the same time terrified humanity: when this happens, it will be the end of everything for us inhabitants of the Earth. Like all stars, the Sun also passes through his life cycle and it is inevitable that this cycle will sooner or later come to an end. Astronomers have always speculated broadly when this will happen, but today we can incredibly say we have a date. And thanks to calculations of Gaiaspacecraft on a mission for ESA.
When the Sun will die according to Gaia
L’European Space Agency launched Gaia on a mission in 2013 and since then the spacecraft, which serves as a space observatory, has collected enormous amounts of data about the billions of stars in our galaxy and in our immediate vicinity. Since then Gaia has examined them in detail by analyzing their temperature, size, mass, brightness and evaluating every slightest variation of these factors.
Of course, the ESA mission could not ignore the Sun, our star. And, exploiting the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, he was able to predict quite precisely (at least compared to what has been done so far) the moment when the Sun will go out and, therefore, it will die.
No alarmism, as far as we are concerned, the prediction of Gaia does not speak of immediate catastrophes. The spacecraft, which is currently 930,000 miles from Earth, has calculated that the Sun is it is currently about 4.57 billion years old and which is still stable. According to data collected by Gaia, our star will reach its maximum temperature at about 8 billion years and at that point the reverse cooling process will begin. Reached 10 or 11 billion years the Sun will effectively become a red giant by increasing in size and running towards its final decline.
The good news is that before all this happens and the Sun becomes a cold white dwarf, eventually leaving behind a nebula of gas and dust, it will still take between 5 and 6 billion years.
What will happen to the Earth with the death of the Sun
Given that we will never see the death of the Sun and that this will occur in billions of years, we cannot deny that there is a lot of curiosity about what will happen to the Earth, once our star goes out for good. It is no secret that solar activity has repercussions on terrestrial ones and we saw it just a month ago with a coronal mass ejection that swallowed a previous one, triggering strong geomagnetic storms. And we know how these can interfere with the functioning of satellites or our power grids.
When the sun dies, the effect will be far more devastating than a simple solar storm. It will no longer have hydrogen which will no longer be able to fuse into helium, becoming unstable. At that point it will no longer produce energy and will begin to collapse under its own weight, while the remaining helium core will continue to heat up due to thepressure increase. And, once it becomes a red giant, Earth’s decline will begin with the oceans evaporating, breaking down into hydrogen and oxygen atoms. The atmosphere will become denser and denser at that point life on Earth will no longer be possible.
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