The Sun is one of the most important parts of our little circle of life. In fact, you could say that pretty much all known life on Earth relies on the Sun in some shape, form, or fashion. But the Sun won’t exist forever, and scientists now say they figured out when the Sun and Earth will die. Spoiler alert: It isn’t happening anytime soon.
When will the Sun and Earth die?
According to a study published back in 2018, the Sun and Earth are expected to die around 10 billion years from now, give or take a few. This is just a prediction, but the scientists say that it’s impossible to say exactly how the event will go down, as mankind has never been around for a cataclysmic extinction event of this kind.
But what we have done is watched other stars and planets at different stages of their lives. And this has given us a good idea of what to expect when our Sun finally reaches the end of its life and begins to teeter out. The researchers published their study in the journal Nature Astronomy. In it, they predict that the Sun and Earth will die when the Sun produces explodes, leaving a planetary nebula in its wake.
Of course, that isn’t the entire picture. Other studies on the topic claim that the full death of the Sun is still trillions of years away. However, they predict that in roughly 5 billion years, the glowing orb that gives our planet light will have eaten through most of its hydrogen core, and it will become a red giant. When that happens, the Sun will effectively die, as it will stop generating heat as we know it.
From there, the core will become unstable, expanding outward and even swallowing up nearby planets like Mercury and Venus. So, when the Sun dies, the Earth will die, too, as the Earth’s magnetic field will be stripped away, effectively ripping away our atmosphere, too. It’s a scary thought and one that scientists have clearly put a lot of energy into.
Whether the Sun and Earth die in five or 10 billion years is unclear. But at least we know it won’t be happening anytime soon. Instead, all we really have to worry about is the ongoing climate change crisis, which is already threatening to change our planet in a number of ways.