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Five billion years from now, the sun will have grown into a red giant star, more than a hundred times larger than its current size. While this metamorphosis into the giant star will change the solar system, scientists are unsure what will happen to the third rock from the sun.We already know that our sun will be bigger and brighter, so that it will probably destroy any form of life on our planet. But whether the Earth's rocky core will survive is uncertain. At the end of its evolution, seven billion years from now, the sun will become a tiny white dwarf star.
(by Leen Decin, professor at the KU Leuven Institute of Astronomy (source))
When our sun runs through its last phase of its life it will expand and tremendous solar flares will flow out of it. Earth will end up getting baked and will lose its atmosphere.
Jupiter is a gas giant planet, a GAS GIANT. So,
What will happen in Jupiter? Will it evolve into a star since it contains hydrogen and helium? How will the atmosphere deal with the extreme heat?
Jupiter won't evolve into a star, it is not big enough. A body would have to have about 80 times the mass of Jupiter for there to be significant fusion occurring in the core. The end of life of the Sun won't change the mass of Jupiter.
Jupiter will continue to orbit the Sun as it evolves into a red giant. Although the solar wind will be much much more powerful, it won't have a significant effect on the overall mass of Jupiter.
When the Sun loses its outer layers it will, in the last million years or so of its life, lose about half its mass. This will have a significant effect on the orbit of Jupiter, causing Jupiter to migrate outwards. While it is possible that some planet's orbits may become unstable and get ejected from the solar system, it is more likely that Jupiter will settle into a new, wider orbit around the white dwarf.
How will the atmosphere deal with the extreme heat?
Using this article as a guide
During most of the red giant lifetime, the sun will be only 30 times brighter than its current state. Toward the end of the red giant phase the sun will grow more than 1,000 times brighter, and occasionally release pulses of energy reaching 6,000 times current brightness.
Jupiter is about 5 times further from the Sun than the Earth, so it receives 1/25th the solar energy per area. If the Sun emits 30 times as much energy during most of its red-giant phase, and if we assume that Jupiter will migrate outwards some, that puts Jupiter (and its moons) probably somewhere in or close to the habitable zone.
Hydrogen and Helium are pretty inert, but Jupiter has enough Methane and Water vapor in its upper atmosphere to experience a greenhouse effect and gradually heat up, so it will likely grow hot given enough time, even at what we might consider a comfortable distance for a planet. The Red-giant stage of the Sun will last a couple hundred million years and Jupiter is very large and will take a long time to trap enough solar energy to really start to heat up, but I think that's the outcome. It would be a good place to put Earth during that time, but Jupiter would probably become a heat trap or run-away greenhouse planet at a certain point.
Even with heating up, Jupiter is massive enough that it probably won't lose much of its hydrogen.
A final point to make is that Jupiter will probably absorb a small percentage of the matter that the sun loses. Our Sun is estimated to lose about 54% of its mass by the time it becomes a white dwarf and much of (some of?) that matter loss will happen during the red giant stage. That's about 560 Jupiter masses.
Most of that ejected material will just form a planetary nebula or leave the solar system. A tiny percentage of it will be absorbed by Jupiter. I don't expect it will be much, but Jupiter will probably (could?) add some mass during the red giant stage of the sun. I don't expect it would be close to enough to become a brown dwarf star, but I think there will be some added hydrogen and helium during that time.
The heat will make it expand a bit and it will probably get darker. Losing its lighter bands which are lighter in color due to ice. But it'll still basically be Jupiter. Hotter around the surface but otherwise not very different.
Europa, however, will probably become an ocean moon instead of an ice moon, at least for a while.
For a much hotter Jupiters, a mass loss is estimated as 5-7% over the star lifetime. Our rather cold one (even with Sun as a red giant), being exposed to the heat much less time, will lose probably way less.
Capturing a significant amount of the Sun ejected matter will probably not happen. The matter is too hot and too fast, so the net result will be probably a constant mass loss. Contact binary stars do exchange mass, but the receiving star is way heavier and orbits closer.
What will the fate of Jupiter and its moons be during and after our sun becomes a red giant? November 23, 2011 3:59 PM Subscribe
For context, I've been working on a D&D campaign world with realistic physics and I would like to set a campaign on Europa or one of Jupiter's other large moons, post the transition of our sun to its red giant state. In addition to needing to calculate what astronomy (the patterns of the sun, Jupiter, and other moons in the sky) would look like, I first need to work out reasonable adjusted orbits given the mainsequence -> red giant transition.
Here's what I've put together so far, please help me by adding to it (or suggesting references specifically about Jupiter and/or its moons) or correcting my preliminary ideas below. Thanks! :)
The first major event in Jupiter's timeline will be when the sun becomes a red giant. As the sun expands, it will lose mass, and all of the planetary orbits will increase in distance from the sun and in orbital length. The habitable zone (where liquid water exists) will also move much further out.
Most references I've found seem to imply that the inner planets are goners, but that the gas giants won't be affected too much. Would they be stripped of gas by the solar winds? Would the water on Europa melt but then quickly evaporate away completely? I'm skeptical Jupiter would move as far out as the inner edge of the new habitable zone. yet most online references don't indicate that the gas giants would be stripped of their gasses.
Also, would the moons likely keep their orbits thorough all of this, or would Jupiter moving throw everything off?
In short, what would the experience be like from the perspective of Jupiter, or, if it's possible to know, from the perspective of Jupiter's moon Europa.
The Sun will actually lose mass, because it will be blowing off its outer layers by a strong solar wind. Compared to that mass loss, the terrestrial planets are peanuts.
It's not something that has been modeled conclusively, as far as I know—they're still debating, for example, whether Earth will actually be engulfed or not.
If I had to guess, I'd say the solar wind wouldn't be enough to strip away a lot of gas from Jupiter. Jupiter's magnetic field will protect it from the worst of it.
However, the Sun at its peak brightness will be something 1,000 - 10,000 times as bright as it is now, and Jupiter is only 5 times farther than the Earth, so I'd rather be around Neptune, where the Sun, at its brightest, will be only 1-10 times brighter than it is now from Earth—but then Neptune's magnetic field isn't as strong as Jupiter's, and the solar wind might be a greater concern.
posted by BrashTech at 4:14 PM on November 23, 2011
It will take 4 to five billion years before the sun enters a red giant phase (which it may or may not due because of it's smallish mass).
Long before that , about a billion years before, the Andromeda Galaxy will first collide with the Milky way. The gravitational effects from such an merger will probably severely disrupt our Oort cloud (along with the rest of the suns in the galaxy) at the very least. This means big things at the very edges of the solar system will enter the system and all the planets orbits will be severely disrupted. Jupiter and a lot of the current planets will be lucky to not be ejected from the system entirely. Likely none of the existing planets will remain in their current orbits.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 4:20 PM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]
Do you have a citation for that, Poet_Lariat?
The Milky Way has no doubt undergone mergers with galaxies in the past (albeit probably not as large as Andromeda) and stars still have planets.
posted by BrashTech at 5:14 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]
BrashTech: I did not say that no stars would have planets. I did say that the merger of our Galaxy with a much larger galaxy (one trillion suns) is going to completely disrupt the structures of both galaxies (google for merger simulations and watch). It is not unreasonable to think that a large number of planetary systems as well as their Oort clouds will be severely disrupted.
Also, our galaxy has only merged with dwarf galaxies in the past. There is no historical or galactic structural evidence in our galaxy to believe that it has ever merged with anything remotely equal in size (at least since the spiral structure has firmed) to the Andromeda galaxy.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 7:32 PM on November 23, 2011
Best answer: While Poet_Lariat may be correct, it is a definite maybe: the distance between stars is vast, even in merging galaxies. Three-body problems are hard enough to work out: it's not clear what interactions, if any, might happen on a planetary scale due to galactic interactions. and it's going too far, in my opinion, to predict any Velikovsky-style re-ordering of our solar system.
More to the point, there have been some conjectures that the Sun expanding to a red giant will make the moons of Jupiter and Saturn habitable. Essentially, the planets are thought not to move in, but the Sun's heliosphere will move out, to approximately where the earth is now, and grow hotter. Any moon suspected to be rich in water - Enceladus, Titan, Europa, etc - may become habitable, at least in human terms. (Enceladus isn't dense enough to hold on to an atmosphere, but Titan and Europa might). Methane on the moons, currently frozen or in a liquid state, would heat into a gas, possibly contributing to a greenhouse effect. Nothing I've read suggests that the solar wind - currently an important but very tenuous force - would blow off the atmospheres of the outer planets. The inverse square law still applies, and the gas giants are a long ways from the sun, even as a bloated red giant. All of this would happen very slowly, over hundreds of millions of years, so there's little possibility of the moons being thrown out of their orbits. The best fictional treatment of those changes, seven billion years hence, at least that I'm aware of, is Stephen Baxter's Titan , and I think that the last few chapters of that book may be your best resource for the purpose of world-building in your game.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 9:03 PM on November 23, 2011
All of this would happen very slowly, over hundreds of millions of years, so there's little possibility of the moons being thrown out of their orbits. The best fictional treatment of those changes, seven billion years hence, at least that I'm aware of, is Stephen Baxter's Titan , and I think that the last few chapters of that book may be your best resource for the purpose of world-building in your game.
Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I think I'm getting the big picture: we don't yet really understand what may happen on these time scales. But thanks for the tips, it's good to have an idea of the range of current predictions.
So I think I'm going to be using Europa as a model after all, jumping forward the billions of years necessary for many of the gas giant moons to be covered in liquid water. In case you were curious, the premise for the epic-level plot of the run is that "thousands of years ago, a benevolent-explorer race (think star trek) gets caught up in an intergalactic war. They protect Lly (my game world) by hiding its water in a magically shielded plane inside the planet. At the time, Lly was a world with relatively young intelligent life, but was at risk because the enemy had begun to target "supply" worlds with enormous, magical, water-seeking missiles. But this explorer race miscalculates in that Lly is a "sentient world" and reacts "poorly" to having all of its water drained. As a result, thousands of years later, life has recovered, but must still cope with the acute shortage of water. Though, eventually, maybe my players will restore water to the world." :)
Supernovae, the Fate of our Sun, and the Distribution of Heavy Elements in the Earth
“So is it safe to assume all the star’s potential fuel was burned in very short time (during a supernova) instead of millions of years?
Also, can you answer two more questions please- when a star like our sun collapses in on itself as a red giant and disperses its outer shell/becomes a white dwarf, is there no nova (burst of light) and forced quick fusion of the remaining mass like in a larger mass star? I would think there has to be some for a sort of mini-nova.
Finally, I understand all the heavier elements come from star death, but does anyone know how they get dispersed so perfectly throughout the Earth? I think when the Earth is forming and so hot every element naturally accumulates in certain places based on their structure. Kind of like when everything settles in different places in water based on their makeup.”
To answer your first question, I believe that the answer is yes, in that almost all of the nuclear fuel available for fusion reactions in a star gets suddenly used in the fusion reactions which take place in the supernova explosion. For a specific example calculation for a Type Ia supernova, which results from a white dwarf star being driven over its critical mass limit, see the nice Physics Stack Exchange answer to this particular example.
Regarding your second question about the fate of our Sun, our current understanding of the evolution of stars like our Sun is that it will not produce a nova. Nova events are associated with stars more massive than our Sun.
As for your third question about the distribution of heavy elements in the Earth, I believe that a very detailed answer to this question has been provided on the Physics Stack Exchange. There is some condensation of elements in specific areas on the Earth (which is where we often build mines to extract those elements), but in general the formation process, and subsequent geological processes, tend to distribute elements somewhat uniformly throughout the Earth.
What is the fate of a star like our sun
Our sun is a relatively smaller star. It doesn't have enough fuel or mass to do anything cool like a supernova. But here's the probable fate of our sun. Once it's core runs out of hydrogen fuel, the core will compress itself due to it's own gravity. As the core contracts and heats up, the outer layers of the sun will expand, causing the Red Giant effect. The outer edge of the our sun would then be just beyond the orbit of Earth. Since hydrogen fusion creates helium, that would be the next fuel it would consume. The core will eventually become hot enough to cause the helium to fuse to make carbon. Once the helium fuel is gone the core will expand and cool, leaving the outer layers to expand and eject material. Eventually the core will cool into a white dwarf, and then followed by a black dwarf.
Fun fact though, a teaspoon size amount of white dwarf matter would weigh about 5.5 tons. This is because although the radius of the white dwarf will be approximately 1/100 the size of the star it used to be, it's mass is still the same. High mass in a small volume = high density.
Eveolution of a STAR: The next phase is a Red Giant - Where it will destroy the Earth.
What is the ultimate fate of our sun?
The Sun shines by converting hydrogen in its core into helium, and in the process loses mass that is converted to energy via Einstein's E=mc 2 . It has been doing this for about 4.5 billion years, and is expected to do so for 5 billion more years. After that time, its hydrogen fuel will be depleted. With its internal energy source shut down, gravity will cause the core to collapse. That collapse will generate enough heat to expand its outer layers, turning our Sun into a red giant that will expand beyond the Earth's orbit. (So don't make any plans for the year 5,000,002,000.)
The collapsed core will become a white dwarf, composed of degenerate matter supported by the inability of two electrons to occupy the same space. A star more massive than our Sun eventually becomes a neutron star via a similar process. The most massive stars collapse to form black holes.
Answered by: Paul Walorski, B.A. Physics, Part-time Physics Instructor
'Wisdom is the daughter of Experience, Truth is only the daughter of Time.'
1 thought on &ldquo What Will Happen To The Planets When The Sun Dies Out? &rdquo
I have thought about this idea before, what would happen after the sun goes. I never realized it would come back with a cool surface temperature. Every time scientists find a tiny bit of (maybe) sort of life on a planet, I know there is hope for this universe. Even though we will all be gone by then, it would be nice to know that there is still life out there. Part of the reason planets are going to stop running is because of pollution. An interesting idea is global dimming which is the lowering amounts of solar radiation coming to the surface of the Earth. Scientists have discovered that aerosols are the reason for this global dimming.
We're stars and we're beautiful
To solve the riddle, the scientists developed a new computer model for predicting stars' life cycles.
According to their new calculations, once expanding red giants eject the dust and gas that make up the nebula, they heat up three times faster than the previous models suggested. This accelerated heating would make it possible even for a star of lower mass, like our sun, to manifest a visible nebula.
"We found that stars with a mass less than 1.1 times the mass of the sun produce fainter nebulae, and stars more massive than 3 solar masses [produce] brighter nebulae," study co-author Albert Zijlstra, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, said in a statement.
"But for the rest, the predicted brightness is very close to what had been observed," Zijlstra added. "Problem solved, after 25 years!"
The findings were published online yesterday (May 7) in the journal Nature Astronomy.
Close-up photos of dying star show our sun's fate
About 550 light-years from Earth, a star like our Sun is writhing in its death throes. Chi Cygni has swollen in size to become a red giant star so large that it would swallow every planet out to Mars in our solar system. Moreover, it has begun to pulse dramatically in and out, beating like a giant heart. New close-up photos of the surface of this distant star show its throbbing motions in unprecedented detail.
"This work opens a window onto the fate of our Sun five billion years from now, when it will near the end of its life," said lead author Sylvestre Lacour of the Observatoire de Paris.
As a sunlike star ages, it begins to run out of hydrogen fuel at its core. Like a car running out of gas, its "engine" begins to splutter. On Chi Cygni, we see those splutterings as a brightening and dimming, caused by the star's contraction and expansion. Stars at this life stage are known as Mira variables after the first such example, Mira "the Wonderful," discovered by David Fabricius in 1596. As it pulses, the star is puffing off its outer layers, which in a few hundred thousand years will create a beautifully gleaming planetary nebula.
Chi Cygni pulses once every 408 days. At its smallest diameter of 300 million miles, it becomes mottled with brilliant spots as massive plumes of hot plasma roil its surface. (Those spots are like the granules on our Sun's surface, but much larger.) As it expands, Chi Cygni cools and dims, growing to a diameter of 480 million miles -- large enough to engulf and cook our solar system's asteroid belt.
For the first time, astronomers have photographed these dramatic changes in detail. They reported their work in the December 10 issue of The Astrophysical Journal.
"We have essentially created an animation of a pulsating star using real images," stated Lacour. "Our observations show that the pulsation is not only radial, but comes with inhomogeneities, like the giant hotspot that appeared at minimum radius."
Imaging variable stars is extremely difficult, for two main reasons. The first reason is that such stars hide within a compact and dense shell of dust and molecules. To study the stellar surface within the shell, astronomers observe the stars at a specific wavelength of infrared light. Infrared allows astronomers to see through the shell of molecules and dust, like X-rays enable physicians to see bones within the human body.
The second reason is that these stars are very far away, and thus appear very small. Even though they are huge compared to the Sun, the distance makes them appear no larger than a small house on the moon as seen from Earth. Traditional telescopes lack the proper resolution. Consequently, the team turned to a technique called interferometry, which involves combining the light coming from several telescopes to yield resolution equivalent to a telescope as large as the distance between them.
They used the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Infrared Optical Telescope Array, or IOTA, which was located at Whipple Observatory on Mount Hopkins, Arizona.
"IOTA offered unique capabilities," said co-author Marc Lacasse of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). "It allowed us to see details in the images which are about 15 times smaller than can be resolved in images from the Hubble Space Telescope."
The team also acknowledged the usefulness of the many observations contributed annually by amateur astronomers worldwide, which were provided by the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO).
In the forthcoming decade, the prospect of ultra-sharp imaging enabled by interferometry excites astronomers. Objects that, until now, appeared point-like are progressively revealing their true nature. Stellar surfaces, black hole accretion disks, and planet forming regions surrounding newborn stars all used to be understood primarily through models. Interferometry promises to reveal their true identities and, with them, some surprises.
By Joseph Lazio [email protected]>
A couple of possibilities exist. Prior to forming a planetary nebula,
a low-mass star (i.e., one with a mass similar to that of the Sun)
forms a red giant. Planets close to the star are engulfed in the
expanding star, spiral inside it, and are destroyed. In our own solar
system, Mercury and Venus are doomed.
As the star expands to form a red giant, it also starts losing mass.
All stars lose mass. For instance, the Sun is losing mass. However,
at the rate at which the Sun is currently losing mass, it would take
over 1 trillion years (i.e., 100 times longer than the age of the
Universe) for the Sun to disappear.
When a star enters the red giant phase, the rate at which it loses
mass can accelerate. The mass of a star determines how far a planet
orbits from it. Thus, as the Sun loses mass, the orbits of the other
planets will expand. The orbit of Mars will almost certainly expand
faster than the Sun does, thus Mars will probably not suffer the same
fate as Mercury and Venus. It is currently an open question as to
whether the Earth will survive or be engulfed.
The orbits of planets farther out (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune,
and Pluto) will also expand. However, they will not expand by much
(less than double in size), so they will remain in orbit about the Sun
forever, even after it has collapsed to form a white dwarf.
(Any planets around a high-mass star would be less lucky. A high-mass
star loses a large fraction of its mass quickly in a massive explosion
known as a supernova. So much mass is lost that the planets are no
longer bound to the star, and they go flying off into space.)
As for the material in the planetary nebula, it will have little
impact on the planets themselves. The outer layers of a red giant are
extremely tenuous by terrestrial standards they are a fairly decent
Fate of Jupiter when our sun dies - Astronomy
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THE DEATH OF THE SUN
The Sun is about 4.5 billion years old. it has used up about half of its nuclear fuel (hydrogen). In about 5 billion years from now, the sun will begin to die.
As the Sun grows old, it will expand. As the core runs out of hydrogen and then helium, the core will contract and the outer layers will expand, cool, and become less bright. It will become a red giant star.
After this phase, the outer layers of the Sun will continue to expand. As this happens, the core will contract the helium atoms in the core will fuse together, forming carbon atoms and releasing energy. The core will then be stable since the carbon atoms are not further compressible.
The Pistol nebula: a planetary nebula in Sagittarius.
The Egg nebula: a planetary nebula that formed a few hundred years ago.
Most of its mass will go to the nebula. The remaining Sun will cool and shrink it will eventually be only a few thousand miles in diameter!