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US News The Sun's light will become SUPERCHARGED when it dies, making it strong enough to obliterate the Solar System's asteroid belt, study finds - but it won't happen for six billion years

01:46  15 february  2020
01:46  15 february  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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When our Sun dies it will take the Solar System ' s asteroid belt with it . A new study suggests that when a star' s life ends, its luminosity increases ten-thousand-fold - which is strong enough to obliterate the asteroid belt into small dust particles. Researchers believe this event will occur

The majority of stars in the universe will become luminous enough to blast surrounding asteroids into successively smaller fragments using their light The new study from the University of Warwick' s Department of Physics, published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, analyses the

(Video by GeoBeats)

When our Sun dies it will take the Solar System's asteroid belt with it.

A new study suggests that when a star's life ends, its luminosity increases ten-thousand-fold - which is strong enough to obliterate the asteroid belt into small dust particles.

Researchers believe this event will occur 'quickly and violently' with all but the most distant asteroids in a system being disintegrated in just one million years.

a close up of a bright light: When our Sun dies it will take the Solar System's asteroid belt with it. A new study suggests that when a star's life ends, its luminosity increases ten-thousand-fold - which is strong enough to obliterate the asteroid belt into small dust particles © Provided by Daily Mail When our Sun dies it will take the Solar System's asteroid belt with it. A new study suggests that when a star's life ends, its luminosity increases ten-thousand-fold - which is strong enough to obliterate the asteroid belt into small dust particles

However, the team concludes that our sun will not reach its end for at least another six billion years.

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Five billion years from now, our own sun will look like this, when it goes through the planetary nebula stage of star death. 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.

What will happen when the sun dies ? But in about 5 billion years , the sun will run out of hydrogen. That' s when the sun will become a red giant. " When a star dies , it ejects a mass of gas and dust — known as its envelope — into space.

The new study was conducted by a team at the University of Warwick, which analyzed 'the number of successive break-up events and how quickly this cascade occurs.'

When a star burns all of its hydrogen fuel, it becomes hundreds of times larger during a 'giant branch' phase and increase its luminosity ten-thousand-fold - giving out intense electromagnetic radiation.

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The star will then shed its outer layers once the expansion stops, leaving behind a dense core, or a white dwarf.

The radiation given off from the dying star is absorbed by orbiting asteroids, redistributed internally and then emitted from a different location, creating an imbalance.

This imbalance creates a torque effect that very gradually spins up the asteroid, eventually to break-up speed at one full rotation every 2 hours -the Earth takes almost 24 hours to complete a full rotation.

a star in the background: Researchers believe this event will occur 'quickly and violently' with all but the most distant asteroids in a system being disintegrated in just one million years. However, the team concludes that our sun will not reach its end for at least another six billion years © Provided by Daily Mail Researchers believe this event will occur 'quickly and violently' with all but the most distant asteroids in a system being disintegrated in just one million years. However, the team concludes that our sun will not reach its end for at least another six billion years

This effect is known as the YORP effect, named after four scientists (Yarkovsky, O'Keefe, Radzievskii, Paddack) who contributed ideas to the concept.

And eventually the torque will become so violent that it will pull the asteroids apart into smaller pieces.

This process will continue several times until there is nothing left but cosmic dust.

Illustration of a big fiery red sun with planets and moons in the foreground. © IngaNielsen Illustration of a big fiery red sun with planets and moons in the foreground.

The scientists have calculated that in most cases there will be more than ten fission events, or break-ups, before the pieces become too small to be affected.

Lead author Dr Dimitri Veras, from the University of Warwick's Astronomy and Astrophysics Group, said: 'When a typical star reaches the giant branch stage, its luminosity reaches a maximum of between 1,000 and 10,000 times the luminosity of our Sun.'

'Then the star contracts down into an Earth-sized white dwarf very quickly, where its luminosity drops to levels below our Sun's.'

Extrasolar planet, star cluster and nebula in outer space Extrasolar planet, star cluster and nebula in outer space

'Hence, the YORP effect is very important during the giant branch phase, but almost non-existent after the star has become a white dwarf.'

'For one solar-mass giant branch stars - like what our Sun will become – even exo-asteroid belt analogues will be effectively destroyed.

'The YORP effect in these systems is very violent and acts quickly, on the order of a million years. Not only will our own asteroid belt be destroyed, but it will be done quickly and violently. And due solely to the light from our Sun.'

Illustration of dwarf star Illustration of dwarf star

Experts look forward to a sun pulverizing asteroids around it, as it allows them to analyze the particle's composition.

Dr Veras adds: 'These results help locate debris fields in giant branch and white dwarf planetary systems, which is crucial to determining how white dwarfs are polluted.'

'We need to know where the debris is by the time the star becomes a white dwarf to understand how discs are formed. So the YORP effect provides important context for determining where that debris would originate.'

Huge asteroid impacting Earth, illustration. Huge asteroid impacting Earth, illustration.

'When our Sun dies and runs out of fuel in about 6 billion years it too will shed its outer layers and collapse into a white dwarf, the team explains in a press release.

'As its luminosity grows it will bombard our asteroid belt with increasingly intense radiation, subjecting the asteroids to the YORP effect and breaking them into smaller and smaller pieces, just like in a game of 'Asteroids'.

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