According to a study accepted for publication in the Royal Astronomical Journal, the Sun will eat Mercury, Venus, and Earth after it turns into a red giant as its fuel runs out.
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The sun is an enraged ball of fire that works according to nuclear physics principles and sustains life on Earth. This life-giving entity won’t always be so generous, and eventually it will run out of hydrogen fuel. The events that follow will be complete chaos.
In almost five billion years, the sun will turn into a red giant as its fuel runs out. It will go out for one more hunt in its neighbourhood, the solar system, even though it will lose its ability to sustain life.
The Sun will swallow Mercury, Venus, and possibly Earth in addition to the inner planets. But don’t worry, by that time, our civilization would have most likely gone from the planet, hopefully completely. In a recent research, scientists described the forces at play when a planet gets engulfed by an expanding star.
According to a study (pdf below) accepted for publication in the Royal Astronomical Journal, depending on the size of the engulfed object and the stage of the star’s evolution, interactions between a planet or brown dwarf and the hot gas in the star’s outer envelope can result in a variety of outcomes.
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The flow near a planet immersed in a stellar envelope was simulated hydrodynamically in three dimensions by the researchers. They discovered that depending on the mass of the absorbed object and the stage of the star’s evolution, the sun eating its planets might further enhance the luminosity of a sun-like star by several orders of magnitude for up to several thousand years.
Ricardo Yarza, the lead author from the University of California, Santa Cruz, noted that “as the planet travels inside the star, drag forces transfer energy from the planet to the star, and the stellar envelope can become unbound if the transferred energy exceeds its binding energy.”
His team did point out that it is challenging to run simulations that effectively represent the physical processes taking place at each scale because evolved stars can be hundreds or even thousands of times larger than their planets.
His team also discovered that no planet smaller than around 100 times Jupiter’s mass can escape from a sun-like star’s envelope before the star has expanded to about 10 times the size of the sun.
Future research to investigate the impact of engulfment on the star’s structure can make use of the results of the study.
The Sun is currently in its comfortable middle age, fusing hydrogen into helium, and is normally quite stable. The Sun has an estimated age of 4.57 billion years, according to the European Space Agency. It will grow into a red giant star and drop its surface temperature when the hydrogen in its core exhausts and changes in the fusion process take place.
Read the study given below: