Is Our Sun Dying?

Is Our Sun Dying?

Quick answer is YES!

Our sun first switched on its lights approximately 4.6 billions years ago and ever since that moment it has blasted heat across the entire solar system. To supply our solar system with this life-giving energy the sun must burn fuel and in our sun’s case we are talking about hydrogen and helium.

At the moment the sun is very stable and it will remain this way for another 4 billion years or so. It is at this point that scientists predict that the depletion of hydrogen fuel will result in the formation of a  white dwarf. To help understand this we will turn back the clock approximately 4.6 billion years….just as the lights came on

The sun, along with all the planets, began life as a cloud of gas and dust. At some stage after the formation of this cloud and  ‘event’ caused the gas and dust to collapse and it was this collapse that resulted in a gravitational ‘pull’ which formed denser regions. Over time, more and more matter was pulled in by gravity and increasing  pressure created heat. As more matter joined the cloud momentum built up and the cloud began rotation. The majority of this matter formed a ‘ball’ at the center while the remaining matter for a rotating disc.

Over a period of approximately 100,000 years, the ball at the center collapsed resulting in the increase of pressure and heat white eventually ignited fusion. The sun was born.

The remaining matter which, at this point, was beginning to separate from the cloudy disc was beginning to form its own individual gravitational pull resulting in the formation of the planets….each having their very own story to tell.

So what is happening inside the sun today?

Deep within our sun there is a massive nuclear reaction fusing hydrogen and helium and every second 600 million tons of matter is converted into solar radiation…..this process has remained unchanged for 4.6 billion years. This process has an adverse effect on the stability of the sun as the hydrogen cannot last forever! As the supply of hydrogen depletes, the core of the sun shrinks causing a gradual collapse resulting in the increase of gravity.

Currently there is a ‘pressure’ battle at the sun’s core which is being resisted by the nuclear fusion of hydrogen and helium. This ‘battle’ is causing the fusion process to speed up resulting in the increase of heat and luminosity. Currently there is a 1% increase in luminosity every 100 million years and a 30% increase over the last 3.5 billion years.

The sun will 10% brighter in 1.1 million years time and this will also mean an increase in heat and energy and in 3.5 billion years the sun will be 40% brighter. This will result in the earth’s oceans boiling and the atmosphere being lost to space. Life, as we know it, will be gone.

When the sun reaches its Red Giant phase it will have roughly 120 million years of power left. As the fuel gradually depletes the sun will begin to shrink to around 10 times its current size. The sun will now be very unstable and it will begin to expand and over a period of approximately 20 million years the sun’s luminosity will increase to 5,000 times its current state.

Our sun will not die with the typical explosion of a super nova, the sun will simply continue to expand to become a red giant cooling down over trillions of years.

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