Scientists have seen what will happen after the death of the Sun

Astronomers have discovered the very first planetary system that can tell about the fate of our solar system.

The sun will “die” in about five billion years. Will any planets of our system be able to “survive” this event, and if so, which ones? Scientists have been interested in this question for a long time, and there are not enough clear examples of such events in the observable Galaxy.

Recall that main-sequence stars, like our Sun, after “death” become white dwarfs. At the last stages of its life cycle, the luminary burns all the hydrogen in its core and “swells”, turning into a red giant.

Then it contracts again, becoming a white dwarf. All that remains at this point from the star is a hot and very dense core, usually the size of the Earth and half the mass of the Sun.

Because these compact stellar corpses are small and no longer have the nuclear fuel for bright radiation, white dwarfs are very faint and difficult to detect.

Researchers were able to discover a “prophetic” planetary system using the Keck Observatory, located on the summit of Mount Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The system consists of a planet similar to Jupiter orbiting a white dwarf. It is located near the center of our galaxy.

High-resolution near-infrared images show that the discovered white dwarf has a mass of about 60% of the mass of the Sun, and its surviving exoplanet is a giant gas world about 40% more massive than Jupiter.

“This evidence confirms that planets orbiting at a sufficiently large distance [from the star] can continue to exist after the death of their star,” said lead author Joshua Blackman of the University of Tasmania in Australia. analogous to our solar system, we can assume that Jupiter and Saturn can survive the phase of the red giant Sun, when it runs out of nuclear fuel and it self-destructs. ”

The future of the Earth in this case will not be so rosy, because it is much closer to the Sun. In the red giant stage, it will simply swallow planets too close to it.

And even if humanity prepares for this event and migrates en masse to one of the moons of Jupiter or Saturn in order to survive this giant phase of the Sun, it will be too early to celebrate success. We can no longer rely on the heat of a slowly cooling star turning into a white dwarf.

Fortunately, we are talking about events of such a distant future that there is no point in seriously developing plans for this time. However, “to look into the crystal ball” and imagine what will happen to the solar system in five billion years, no doubt, is extremely curious.

The research team plans to incorporate their findings into a statistical study to find out how many other white dwarfs the “surviving” planets have with them.

Future research with the Nancy Grace Roman Telescope (formerly known as WFIRST) will allow more detailed exploration of such worlds. This telescope will be able to make a much more complete view of the planets orbiting white dwarfs located in the bulge of the Milky Way.

This will allow astronomers to determine whether planets like Jupiter often manage to survive after the death of their stars, or a significant part of them still collapse by the time their host stars become red giants.

The work of an international group of astronomers has been published in the authoritative scientific publication Nature.

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