In 10 billion years time when our parent star morphs into a planetary nebula, the sun will be undergo a dramatic death, UK scientists say.
Until today, astronomers have agreed on the expected life span of the sun, but the way it would die has been disputed.
New research that's been exposed indicates that the sun will turn into a planetary nebula - a gigantic globe of dust and gas.
Among some of the most striking and beautiful objects observed by astronomers, planetary nebulae shines bright enough to be spotted across spans of millions of light years.
The new findings indicate that the sun is just big enough to finish its life in an incredible fashion, as a luminous planetary nebula.
A member of the international team from the University of Manchester, Professor Albert Zijlstra, said: “When a star dies it ejects a mass of gas and dust – known as its envelope – into space. The envelope can be as much as half the star’s mass. This reveals the star’s core, which by this point in the star’s life is running out of fuel, eventually turning off and before finally dying.
“It is only then the hot core makes the ejected envelope shine brightly for around 10,000 years – a brief period in astronomy. This is what makes the planetary nebula visible.
“Some are so bright that they can be seen from extremely large distances measuring tens of millions of light years, where the star itself would have been much too faint to see.”
Scientists have been developing a new data model that predicts the life cycle of stars.
The model demonstrated that after envelope ejection, stars experiencing death heated three times faster than was formerly thought. It made it a lot easier for a star with low-mass such as the sun to create a bright planetary nebula.
It showed that after ejection of the envelope, dying stars heated up three times faster than was previously thought. This made it much easier for a low-mass star such as the sun to produce a bright planetary nebula.