The Fate of Our Sun and Our Planet

By Michael Nguyen

 If the Sun produces more light and heat it will affect Earth greatly. The Sun contains enough hydrogen to last ten billion years. The Sun needs all the hydrogen because it nuclear fuses hydrogen atoms together in its core to make helium which produces energy. The outward pressure created by the energy emitted from the fusion  cancels out the inward pull of gravity, this is how the Sun stays stable. Once it runs out of the hydrogen in the core, it will go through changes where it will start fusing hydrogen in the outside of the Sun and will release more heat and light.

The Sun goes though many phases as it begins to burn hydrogen outside of the core. Over time the Sun will begin to get larger and will start to change colors.  It gets larger because the hydrogen being fused is producing greater energy than the gravity, when this happens the Sun will be known as a red giant.  This phase also causes the Sun to turn a dark red-orange, which is where the name ‘red giant’ comes from. This phase of the Sun could really affect the fate of our solar system. Figure 1 shows how the luminosity, which is the energy from the Sun, changes over time as the Sun approaches the red giant phase. The dotted line represents where we are at currently in the Sun’s lifetime (we are currently at the 4.5 billion years point).  In the 8 billion year point the luminosity is roughly 1.5 times greater than the Sun currently is. The figure ends at 10 billion years because there is to much dramatic stuff happening to record when its at the red giant phase.

Figure 1:


Since the Sun is producing more energy it will overheat the Earth which means the water on Earth will evaporate. This evaporation will happen before the red giant phase and most likey in the next 1 billion years. If the Sun grows too large in the red giant phase we, Earth, would be “in” the Sun (which means destruction of the entire Earth).  Besides Earth getting dried up or destroyed, Mercury, Venus, and Mars also will be burnt and/or obliterated.  The other outer planets will also get warmer due to the power of the “new” Sun.  That could affect the climate of these planets and their moons as well, such as a very cold planet could become a new, cool or warm one because of the extra heat. Some of these places would become livable environment for mankind, if we survive for that long.

Questions:

1.  In figure 1, in the year 10 billion what is expected luminosity to be at?

2. What is the source of energy of the Sun after the core runs out of hydrogen?

3. What is are the two outcomes of the Earth as the Sun changes, which would happen first?

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17 thoughts on “The Fate of Our Sun and Our Planet

  1. 1. In figure 1, in the year 10 billion what is expected luminosity to be at?
    Based on the table if the data remains the same then it will hit exactly if not around 2.0, but if the data trend shows in increase like before it would most likely be around 2-2.3 depending on the change of increase of luminosity.

  2. This is too insane to even think about it happening! I would have never learned any of this crucial information without your article! It’s so cool that we have young, bright writers from our school decoding information for our generation! Great work nguyen!!! The questions are a great follow up after the reading and have ACT readiness!

  3. This is a really cool passage and i think the luminosity will be at about 2.0 please correct me if im wrong. I wonder what things can protect us, Where will we go when the sun actually becomes a red giant. Put those science fair skills to work and lets make a hot- wet suit

  4. BK
    1. In year 10 billion the expected luminosity will be at 1.9-2.0
    2. The source of energy the sun uses after the core runs out of hydrogen is that the sun will start fusing hydrogen.
    3. The Earth would first overheat and then the Earth would start destroying it self

  5. 1. 2.0

    2. The new source of energy will be the Hydrogen outside of the suns core.

    3. The Earth’s oceans would dry up and life on Earth would cease and then the sun would expand that it would cover Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.

  6. When the sun enters the”Red-Giant phase”would everything we see actually look red? Also, about the sunglasses we currently use…will they still work the same in the sun’s”Red-Giant phase”?

    -Angel C.

  7. Woah! This is crazy, but at the same time very very interesting! I am very surprised, keep up the great work!

  8. great work!!! wouldnt we be gone when the sun reaches its self distruction phase?? you have some great reasher you dis,keep it up

  9. Good blog Michael, it is really good information! 🙂
    This sounds really scary if I still lived by then, but gladly I wont.
    In 1 billions years our beautiful earth will be destroyed by the sun!! Oh no..
    Zach asked a very good question!

  10. since the sun is expanding (red giant phase) wouldnt its gravity also pull in the other planets that might be able support life?

  11. 1. too much dramatic stuff will be happening!
    2.hydrogen from outside the sun.
    3.it is either the planet will be destroyed by the new sun or the new sun will evaporate all of earths water. the second option would most likely come first.
    My comment: this is a pretty interesting/ scary reading but it creates another view point on why the sun will destroy earth!!

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