Sun vs Earth a matter of life and death

(ORDO NEWS) — In a few billion years, the Sun will become a “red giant” so big that it will swallow our planet. However, the Earth will be uninhabitable much sooner than this happens. In about a billion years, heat from the sun will boil the oceans.

Today, scientists classify the Sun as a main sequence star. This means that it is at the most stable stage of its life. During this period, hydrogen, which is in its core, is converted into helium.

For a star of this size, this phase lasts just over 8 billion years. Our solar system is a little over 4.5 billion years old. This means that the Sun is only halfway through its stable phase.

Even the stars die

After 8 billion years, the measured life of the Sun will become more active. The reason for such changes will be the fact that the core will run out of hydrogen – all of it will turn into helium. The problem is that the Sun’s core is not hot enough to burn helium.

The gravitational force of the star pushes all the gases towards the center. As long as there is hydrogen in the core, it burns into helium.

As a result, an external pressure is created, sufficient to balance the gravitational attraction. But when there is no more hydrogen left in the star’s core, the gravitational force will take over.

In the end, it will compress the center of the star to such an extent that hydrogen will start burning in a shell around a dead core filled with helium. Once the Sun starts burning more hydrogen, it will be considered a “red giant”.

But why the “red giant”? The compression process in the center will allow the outer region of the star to expand. The burning of hydrogen in a shell around the core will significantly increase the brightness of the Sun.

Due to the increase in the size of the star, the surface will cool and change color from white to red. Due to the fact that such stars increase in size, become brighter and redder, they are called “red giants”.

Fiery death of the Earth

It is clear that the Earth as a planet will not survive in conditions of such changes in solar activity. The enlarged surface of the Sun is likely to reach the orbit of Mars. Although the Earth’s orbit is also expected to expand, this will not be enough for the Earth to withstand the impact of the “red giant”. Our planet will begin to rapidly collapse.

Before the Earth is finally destroyed, life will face a number of insurmountable obstacles. This will happen even before the combustion of hydrogen ends. Every billion years, the brightness of the Sun increases by 10%. This means that over time our planet is getting warmer. As the Earth warms, the water on its surface will begin to evaporate.

An increase in the brightness of the Sun by 10% compared to the current indicator does not seem like such a significant change.

In reality, the consequences of this will be catastrophic for our planet. This increase in the brightness of the Sun will be sufficient to change the location of the habitable zone around the star. The habitable zone is a conditional area in outer space where water can stably exist in the liquid phase.

With an increase in the brightness of the Sun by 10%, the Earth will move beyond the habitable zone. By the time the process of burning hydrogen in the core of the star stops, Mars will become a habitable zone. The temperature on the Earth will rise so much that the water on its surface will not be able to exist in the liquid phase.


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