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When will the sun burn out?

Last post Wed, Mar 23 2011 2:19 PM by Pat Reiff. 1 replies.
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  • Wed, Mar 23 2011 1:12 PM

    When will the sun burn out?

     Hi, our Grade 6 class has the following question, "When will the sun burn out, and what will happen to it?"  Thank you for taking the time to answer us!  We really enjoy your Solar Week site!

    -Arjun , Grade 6, St. Maurice School, Winnipeg, MB

  • Wed, Mar 23 2011 2:19 PM In reply to

    • Pat Reiff
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Sun, Feb 27 2005
    • Rice University
    • Posts 70

    Re: When will the sun burn out?

    Not for a long long time... about 5 Billion (thousand million) years! The Sun will turn into a Red Giant when it finishes the hydrogen fuel in its core. It will no longer put out enough heat to hold the rest of the sun out, so it will collapse, making the next closest layer of the Sun (which still does have Hydrogen left) start to fuse. this will blow off the outer layers, making a red giant - and huge - nearly as big as the orbit of Mars! If it makes the Helium in the core fuse, it then becomes even larger - a planetary nebula! Betelgeuse in Orion is a red Supergiant! So the Sun will have a beautiful end, but we won't still be here to see it. Wikipedia has a pretty good explanation, with pictures: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_giant
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