Fate of The Solar System: 1 To 5 Billion Years
Over a timescale of a billion years or more, the Earth and Solar System are unstable. Earth's existing biosphere is expected to vanish in about a billion years, as the Sun's heat production gradually increases to the point that liquid water and life are unlikely; the Earth's magnetic fields, axial tilt and atmosphere are subject to long term change; and the Solar System itself is chaotic over million- and billion-year timescales; Eventually in around 5.4 billion years from now, the core of the Sun will become hot enough to trigger hydrogen fusion in its surrounding shell. This will cause the outer layers of the star to expand greatly, and the star will enter a phase of its life in which it is called a red giant. Within 7.5 billion years, the Sun will have expanded to a radius of 1.2 AU—256 times its current size, and studies announced in 2008 show that due to tidal interaction between Sun and Earth, Earth would actually fall back into a lower orbit, and get engulfed and incorporated inside the Sun before the Sun reaches its largest size, despite the Sun losing about 38% of its mass. The Sun itself will continue to exist for many billions of years, passing through a number of phases, and eventually (if nothing else changes) ending up as a long-lived white dwarf. Eventually, after billions more years, the Sun will finally cease to shine altogether, becoming a black dwarf.
Famous quotes containing the words billion years, fate of, billion, years, fate and/or solar:
“Imagine spending four billion years stocking the oceans with seafood, filling the ground with fossil fuels, and drilling the bees in honey productiononly to produce a race of bed-wetters!”
—Barbara Ehrenreich (b. 1941)
“The impression made on me was that the French Canadians were even sharing the fate of the Indians, or at least gradually disappearing in what is called the Saxon current.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“... men and women are not yet free.... The slavery of greed endures. Little child workers, the hope of the future, are sacrificed to industry. Young men are sent out by the billion to die for profits.... We must destroy industrial slavery and build industrial democracy.... The people everywhere must come into possession of the earth [second, third, and fourth ellipses in source].”
—Sara Bard Field (18821974)
“But he answered his father, Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!”
—Bible: New Testament, Luke 15:29,30.
“It has come to this, that the friends of liberty, the friends of the slave, have shuddered when they have understood that his fate was left to the legal tribunals of the country to be decided. Free men have no faith that justice will be awarded in such a case.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“Our civilization has decided ... that determining the guilt or innocence of men is a thing too important to be trusted to trained men.... When it wants a library catalogued, or the solar system discovered, or any trifle of that kind, it uses up its specialists. But when it wishes anything done which is really serious, it collects twelve of the ordinary men standing round. The same thing was done, if I remember right, by the Founder of Christianity.”
—Gilbert Keith Chesterton (18741936)