Sep
15
2007

No worries: Earth has a chance to survive Sun’s changes

Red alert: Based on what they've seen at the star V 391, astronomers say there is a possibility that Earth could survive a red giant phase expansion of our Sun. (Photo courtesy of NASA)
Red alert: Based on what they've seen at the star V 391, astronomers say there is a possibility that Earth could survive a red giant phase expansion of our Sun. (Photo courtesy of NASA)
Not that any of us reading this have to really worry about this personally, but there’s new evidence that the Earth could be able to survive should our Sun start to balloon into a red giant. That’s estimated to happen in a few billion years.

Astronomers have found a planet in a similar position as Earth’s relative to its star that continues to exist as the star has become a red giant. The star in question, V 391, was much like our Sun, but as it aged, its core ran out of hydrogen. That triggered a reaction where it began to burn helium and its outer surface expanded out about 100 times wider. It’s believed the same thing will happen to our Sun in about 5 billion years.

The planet in question has about three times the mass of Jupiter and orbits V 391 at about the same distance as Mars is from our Sun. However, the red giant action of V 391 is considered highly unusual and may be just representative of 2 percent of the red giant actions that happen to stars. Astronomers are continuing to watch what’s happening there, but say that it’s too small of a data sample to project what will happen to Earth when the Sun go to a red giant phase. The common thinking is Mercury and Venus will be vaporized in a red giant transition of the Sun while Earth would be on the borderline of the safety zone.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

mdr's picture
mdr says:

Thank God, I can sleep soundly again!

posted on Sat, 09/15/2007 - 11:55am
kocher's picture
kocher says:

It doesn't mean life will be able to survive! We'll all burn....

http://science-student.com

posted on Sat, 09/15/2007 - 6:39pm
hawa's picture
hawa says:

When this happen? cause doing the summer it can be really hot.
And they are talking about in a million year before this happen.

posted on Tue, 03/25/2008 - 2:15pm

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