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Here’s what the sun will look like when it dies

One day the sun will die.  When that happens, it’ll be quite a dramatic sight to see. Thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope we have a picture of what that might look like.


Nothing is forever, and one day our sun, Sol, will die. It will be a slow process that bit by bit destroys our solar system. In about one billion years, the sun will become too hot  to support life on Earth; our oceans will vaporize and all life left on the planet will die. If humanity hasn’t gone extinct by then, hopefully, we’ll be able to find another home (or maybe find a way to tow earth out of there). If we are around though, the sun will provide us with one last wonder; a light show to end all light shows.

The sun will grow, expanding into a red giant and eventually, it will cast most of its matter off into a gaseous cloud; a nebula. These nebulae are called planetary nebulae, not because they have anything to do with planets, but because in the past, astronomers were unable to discern what they were and assumed they were the dim light of planets orbiting a foreign star.

The Hubble Space Telescope however, is not a bad telescope, and it can see the true nature of the clouds. This week, the Hubble took a picture of IC 289, a planetary nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia. Visible in the center of the nebula, is the tiny, still glowing core of the former star.


This is the sad fate of our sun

David F.
A grad student in experimental physics, David is fascinated by science, space and technology. When not buried in lecture books, he enjoys movies, gaming and mountainbiking

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