The sun is the source of life, as most of us know. But there is so much more to the sun and that can be seen as we continue studying it and its power. There are a lot of questions people have about this entity, some of which can be answered and others for which the answers are still being discovered.
If you’re wondering whether the sun grows in size, it does. The sun is very slowly but surely brightening and expanding as the years go on. It is said that the sun will continue to grow, as it is at the moment, to the point where it reaches its maximum, eventually collapsing into a white dwarf.
The sun’s death is a phenomenon predicted by scientists to leave our solar system in a cold, eternal darkness preceded by a vaporizing blaze.
Growth in Mass
Growth can occur in two different ways, one of which is in mass. The sun, extraordinarily, is losing mass as it ages. This is true for most celestial bodies as they tend to lose mass as a result of nuclear fusion.
Apart from this, they also have magnetic fields that are prone to explosions. Even though the mass of the sun is unknown, we do know that it loses mass everyday of which 73% is lost to nuclear fusion.
While this sounds like a lot, it makes little to no impact on the sun in the short run.
Growth in Volume
Unlike the loss of growth in mass, the sun does, in fact, continue to grow in volume. Due to internal pressure, the core of the sun continues to grow hotter and brighter over time.
As we go towards the outside of the sun, the gravitational pull decreases, causing the extra heat to expand the plasma little by little all the time.
It is measured that about 4.5 billion years ago, the sun’s size was 10% smaller. This indicates that the sun’s growth in volume is steady over time and will continue to increase.
What Will Happen to the Sun
Scientists have predicted that roughly 5 billion years from now, the sun will reach its maximum limit and collapse into a white dwarf. This limit will have been reached because the sun will have exhausted all of the hydrogen fuel in its core. It will then only burn helium.
When this happens, we can expect its atmosphere to expand as far as the distance between the sun and the Earth. This will mean that it will have engulfed Venus, Mercury, and likely the Earth. During this time, human life will not be found on Earth as it will become uninhabitable 4 billion years prior to this moment. It is expected that most earthlings will either have lost their lives or will have moved to another planet suitable for living.
The impact on other planets will also be quite significant. Jupiter and Saturn’s atmospheres will have eroded due to the radiation from the sun. The sun itself will go from white-hot to red-hot as its surface becomes less hot.
Impact on Earth
As the sun goes towards extinction, the oceans of the Earth will dry up and Earth will become uninhabitable. However, Mars will become an option for where earthlings might be taken in order to continue living their lives.
If we’re looking for a way to determine that the Earth will survive the expansion of the sun, one of the things to consider is the sun’s loss of mass over time.
In this scenario, Earth should likely be able to drift away from the sun, considering the sun’s gravitational pull would be significantly less than it is now. This is the only possible perspective that allows us to conclude that the Earth might survive vaporization.
However, the most common scenario is that of the Earth and its life being disintegrated. The drag from the sun’s outer layer will likely cause the Earth to drift inwards. This will mean that instead of finding an escape route, it’ll be falling directly in the sun’s line of sight.
Even if we consider the idea that the Earth might drift outwards, we must also consider that the sun’s volume will have drastically increased. Therefore, avoiding contact with the ballooned-up sun will be nearly impossible. The sun will likely drift faster than the Earth meaning it’ll still end up vaporizing it.
Apart from this, as the mass of the sun decreases, so will the rotation rate. This will make it so that there is a tidal bulge on the sun’s surface which will pull the Earth in, leading to the demise of the planet.
The sun continues to grow over time. This growth, while it has little impact on our livelihood, will make the Earth uninhabitable as time passes. When the sun reaches its limit, it will vaporize everything in its path, including most planets within our solar system.
There is still more that needs to be explored in order to understand the depth of impact this would have on not only us but the entire universe. However, it is fair to conclude that the Earth will most likely not survive this event.