The Sun will act like a giant telescope, but first there is a condition

The most accurate predictions indicate that the age of the Sun is about 4.57 billion years. It converts hydrogen into helium and appears to be a fairly stable middle-aged star. Unfortunately, this situation is not permanent.

At some point, the Sun will run out of hydrogen fuel, and changes will occur in the nuclear fusion process. As a result, our star “swells”, reaching the dimensions characteristic of a red giant, while its surface temperature drops slightly. Scientists would like to know the exact progress of this long-term process from recent information collected by the Gaia probe.

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With this data at their disposal, Orla Crevi of the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur and her colleagues searched for the most accurate stargazing observations a space probe could make. We can now see the results of their project from the post available at Astronomy and astrophysics.

Astronomers focused their attention on stars with surface temperatures between 2,700 and 9,700 degrees Celsius, because they are the longest-lived stars in the Milky Way. As a result, it can be an ideal reference point in the context of learning about the history of our entire galaxy. Since the surface temperature of the Sun is about 5700 ° C, it fits perfectly into this group.

The sun will at some point become a so-called red giant

The next stage of the research involved getting rid of some stars so that only stars of the same mass and chemical composition as the Sun would remain in the game. The selected objects draw a line across the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram representing the evolution of the Sun from its birth to its possible death. Thanks to this, it was possible to determine the expected changes in the temperature and brightness of the Sun in the later stages of its development.

Read also: We already know what actually drives the solar cycle

What are the conclusions? Our star will reach its maximum temperature about 8 billion years. Subsequently, it will begin to cool, as its dimensions increase. At the age of about 10-11 billion years, it will become a red giant. Unfortunately, it will be the last in a row in the presence of the Sun, which has yet to evolve into a white dwarf. Interestingly, while searching for stars with temperatures, gravity, compositions, masses and rays similar to the Sun, astronomers found 5,863 such objects.

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