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Q & A: Stars Get Dark Eventually

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
Will the sun die?If yes,how many years later?
- Jing wen (age 10)
Tampines North Primary School, SIngapore
A:
This might sound a little sad, but our sun will eventually die. Don't get worried though, it won't happen for another 5 billion years or so.

With any star, they have a lot of fuel. This fuel is an element called hydrogen. After a very very very very long time (10 billion or so years our sun), it will run out of hydrogen. After the sun uses the hydrogen, that fuel becomes helium or some other light element. Once the hydrogen is gone, the helium will fuse into bigger elements. At that point, the star grows to big very big. In fact, the Earth will be swallowed up by our sun when it becomes a Red Giant. Then it will collapse and cool down.

Remember, 5 billion years is a very long time before the sun dies. It's been almost that long since it first gave off light. You won't have to worry about it dieing any time soon.

Adam

(published on 10/22/2007)

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