Our Sun isn’t quite as old as other stars out there. However, scientists are already trying to pinpoint exactly when the Sun will die. Of course, it isn’t as simple as throwing out a date. After all, we’re working with a massive ball of energy that we’ve still barely managed to scratch the surface of exploring. However, scientists have managed to figure out a few key points about the Sun’s future, including the end of its current life phase.
While the full death of the Sun is still trillions of years away, some scientists believe the current phase of the Sun’s life cycle will end as soon as 5 billion years from now. At that point, the massive star at the center of our Solar System will have eaten through most of its hydrogen core. Effectively, the Sun as we know it will have died. When that happens, the Sun will become a red giant. It will stop creating heat via nuclear fusion. NASA says the core will become unstable and contract around this time.
Once the core starts to become unstable, the outer layers of the Sun will expand. That expansion will eventually swallow up Mercury and Venus. Additionally, rough solar winds from the Sun will beat at the Earth, stripping it of the magnetic field that generates its atmosphere. It’s a scary time to think about, especially for any life—human or non-human—that might remain all those years from now. Of course, there’s a slew of other threats from the Sun before that happens.
While the idea of the Sun dying is scary, there’s a chance humanity won’t even be around to experience it.
According to scientists, the Earth’s oceans will be vaporized by the energy from the Sun a billion years from now. At that time, the Sun’s brightness will also have increased by around 10 percent. There are also other threats of climate change to take into account as well.
Ultimately, the future of the Earth is grim, at least scientists say it is. Perhaps that’s why so many people are so focused on space travel and getting us to other planets. Not only would it allow humanity to continue surviving, but it would give us a new home to go to when the Sun eventually dies.