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New study claims the Sun will destroy Mercury, Venus, and Earth – here’s when

Updated Jan 6th, 2023 9:51AM EST
huge solar eruption from bright sun on dark background
Image: lukszczepanski/Adobe

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All stars dies and our Sun is a star. Therefore, it makes sense that at some point down the line, our Sun, which provides life to Earth, will die, too. When it does, scientists say that the Sun will destroy Earth, Mercury, and Venus, leaving our entire solar system devastated.

Earth in space
One day, the Sun may destroy Earth or make it unlivable due to the intense heat and energy it releases. Image source: Tryfonov / Adobe

A full pot can only boil so long before it finally boils over, and the Sun is kind of like a pot of water, just boiling away for billions of years. Right now, our star is still young, generating tons of energy and acting as a source of light and heat that helps keep Earth alive. But, one day, that same energy will cause the Sun to destroy Earth and other planets along with it.

This isn’t a new idea. Scientists have estimated that our Sun will “explode” within the next five billion years for quite a while now. A new study that researchers submitted to the Astrophysical Journal says that when it does, the Sun will destroy Mercury, Venus, and possibly the Earth.

The level of that destruction is unclear, though. To better understand how the Sun will destroy the Earth, the researchers performed several 3D hydrodynamical simulations. This helped them better understand the range of possible outcomes after a Sun-like star engulfs a planet. They found that it depends heavily on the planet’s size and the star’s current stage.

The sun’s current activity, solar flares, and sunspots may be tied to its age. Image source: NSO/AURA/NSF

Because of the Earth’s size, some say it won’t be completely devoured, as Mercury and Venus are likely to be. However, the Sun will still make the Earth unlivable. That’s because when the Sun enters its red giant phase it will lose all its hydrogen. When that happens, its border will expand multiple times over and engulf anything in its way. As a result, our Sun could destroy Earth.

Depending on the exact outcome, the engulfed planet may be pulled into a much tighter orbit that completely devours it. Or the ability to create a new world may become available because of the changes.

Scientists believe our Sun has reached the middle of its life, roughly 4.57 billion years of age. They also believe that’s the cause of the ongoing solar activity we’re experiencing. In 5 billion years, it will start to die. And when that happens, the chances of the Sun destroying Earth are very likely.

More space coverage: Scientists want to send humans to Venus before Mars.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.

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