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After the Sun’s death, life could be reborn on Earth

The study, led by Dimitri Veras and published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, sought to understand how the death of a star like our sun affects the planets around it, and any life that might be there.

White dwarfs are the final stage of many stars. When stars have no more hydrogen to merge in their nucleus, they transform into red giants burning helium. Red Giants are incredibly volatile, and emit raging solar winds that crush all nearby planets . Recently, it was the red giant Betelgeuse which had mysteriously lost its shine .

The study concludes that it is almost impossible for life to survive cataclysmic stellar evolution unless the planet has an intensely strong magnetic field, or magnetosphere, that can protect it from adverse effects.

Life could reappear on Earth after the Sun dies

In about five billion years, our sun’s core will contract and get hotter. And in response, its outer layers will swell and cool considerably. This will transform our star into a « red giant » with a diameter of tens of millions of kilometers which will engulf a few planets in our solar system .

Indeed, the orbits of planets and habitable zones are shifted during such a stellar phase. Some planets are swallowed up by the star’s expansion, while others are pushed back . Unfortunately, the habitable zone is pushed back faster than the planets, which means that a habitable planet could find itself deprived of protection and favorable conditions for life .

As a result, we now know that when the Sun dies, the Earth’s magnetic field may not be enough to protect it against a stronger solar wind and against changes in our star. In other words , it is therefore extremely unlikely that life on a planet could survive the death of its sun , but new life could be born from the ashes of the old one.

Indeed, once the star stops emitting strong solar winds by transforming into a white dwarf, the planets around could again create favorable conditions for the development of life. Eventually, however, all life around it could disappear, since it is known that the explosion of white dwarfs would be similar to that of nuclear weapons when stars die in supernovae .

Source: Live Science

Par Jules Bercy

A writer a blogger passionate about science, history politics, the general knowledge of our planet and the Universe...

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