(ORDO NEWS) — What will our Sun look like after death? Scientists have made predictions about what the last days of our solar system will look like and when it will happen. And we humans won’t be around to see the curtain of the Sun.
Astronomers used to think the Sun would turn into a planetary nebula a glowing bubble of gas and cosmic dust until evidence emerged that it would. to be a little more massive.
An international team of astronomers turned it around again in 2018 and found that a planetary nebula is indeed the most likely solar corpse.
The sun is about 4.6. billion years – according to the age of other objects in the solar system, formed at about the same time. Based on observations of other stars, astronomers predict that it will reach the end of its life in about 10 billion years.
Of course, other things will happen along the way. In about 5 billion years, the Sun should turn into a red giant.
The core of the star will shrink, but its outer layers will expand to the orbit of Mars, swallowing our planet in the process. If he’s still there.
One thing’s for sure: we’ll be gone by then. In fact, humanity is only about 1 billion years away if we don’t find a way out of this rock. This is because the Sun’s brightness increases by about 10 percent every billion years.
It sounds a little, but such an increase in brightness will put an end to life on Earth. Our oceans will evaporate and the surface will become too hot for water to form. We will be as kaput as possible.
What happens after a red giant has proven difficult to determine. Several previous studies have shown that for a bright planetary nebula to form, the parent star must be twice as massive as the Sun.
However, a 2018 study used computer simulations to determine that, like 90 percent of other stars, our Sun is likely to evolve from a red giant to a white dwarf and then into a planetary nebula.
“When a star dies, it ejects a mass of gas and dust, known as its shell, into space. The shell can be up to half the mass of the star.
This exposes the star’s core, which by this point in the star’s life runs out of fuel, eventually shuts down, and before finally dying,” explained astrophysicist Albert Zijlstra from the University of Manchester in the UK, one of the authors of the paper.
“Only then does the hot core cause the ejected shell to shine brightly for about 10,000 years. – a short period in astronomy.
This is what makes planetary nebulae visible. Some of them are so bright that they can be seen from extremely large distances, measured in tens of millions of light-years, where the star itself would be too dim to be seen.”
The team’s data model actually predicts the life cycle of different kinds of stars to figure out the brightness of a planetary nebula associated with different stellar masses.
Planetary nebulae are relatively common throughout the observable universe, the best known of which include the Helix Nebula, the Cat’s Eye Nebula, the Ring Nebula, and the Bubble Nebula.
They are called planetary nebulae, not because they actually have anything to do with the planets, but because when the first were discovered by William Herschel in the late 18th century, they looked like planets in telescopes of that time.
Nearly 30 years ago, astronomers noticed something unusual: The brightest planetary nebulae in all other galaxies are about the same level of brightness.
This means that, at least in theory, by looking at planetary nebulae in other galaxies, astronomers can calculate how far away they are.
The data showed that this was correct, but the models contradicted it, which has been troubling scientists ever since the discovery was made.
“Old, low-mass stars should form much fainter planetary nebulae than younger, more massive stars. This has been a source of conflict over the past 25 years,” Zijlstra said.
“The data says it’s possible to get bright planetary nebulae from low-mass stars like the Sun, the models say it’s impossible, whatever. less than twice the mass of the Sun, a planetary nebula would be too faint to be seen.”
The 2018 models solved this problem by showing that the Sun is at about the lower mass limit for a star that can form a visible nebula.
Even a star with a mass less than 1.1 times the mass of the Sun would not be a visible nebula. side, brighter nebulae will form.
For all other stars in between, the predicted brightness is very close to the observed one.
“This is a good result”, “Now we not only have a way to measure the presence of stars several billion years old in distant galaxies, which is a range that is extremely difficult to measure, we even have We have learned what will happen to the Sun when it dies !”
Contact us: [email protected]