Apparently, our sun will create a pretty, iridescent explosion when it finally dies.
A research team at the University of Manchester developed a data model that shows how our sun is not big enough to explode in a supernova when it dies. Instead, it will end in something called a planetary nebula, creating a vast ring of gas and dust.
“Not only do we now have a way to measure the presence of stars of ages a few billion years in distant galaxies, which is a range that is remarkably difficult to measure, we even have found out when the Sun will do when it dies,” Albert Zijlstra at Jodrell Bank Observatory explained.
The team’s data model analyzes a star’s mass and predicts how bright the matter they create will be when it eventually dies. These “matter envelopes” can shine for 10,000 years, thanks to the stellar core a dead star leaves behind, which ionizes the matter using ultraviolet radiation, resulting in a planetary nebula.
This has been the leading theory on our sun’s death for 25 years, but there have been some contrary theories. Regardless, it’s nice to know the center of our solar system might end up becoming a beautiful phenomenon when it eventually dies 5 billion years from now.