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What will happen to the Earth when the sun goes out? For this to happen, there are still 5,000 million years ...
The first to attempt a detailed study of the past and predictably future history of the Earth without resorting to divine intervention was the Scottish geologist James Hutton.
In 1785 he published what can be considered the first book of modern geology, in which he admitted that from the study of the Earth he saw no sign of a beginning or prospects of any end.
Since then we have advanced something. Today we are pretty sure that the Earth acquired its current form about 4.6 billion years ago. It was then that, from the dust and gas of the original nebula that formed the Solar System, our planet was born as we know it today.
Once formed, and left alone as a collection of metals and rocks covered by a thin film of water and air, the Earth could exist forever, at least as far as we know today. But will they leave her alone? The answer is no. So how and when will the end of the world be?
The closest object, of sufficient size and enough energy to seriously affect the Earth is the Sun. As long as the Sun maintains its current level of activity (as it has been doing for billions of years), the Earth will remain essentially immutable. Now, can the Sun maintain that level forever? And, if not, what change will occur and how will this affect the Earth?
Until the thirties of the twentieth century it seemed clear that the Sun, like any other hot body, had to cool down. It poured and poured energy into space, so this huge torrent would have to diminish and be reduced, little by little, to a simple trickle. The sun would turn orange, then red, it would go out more and more and finally it would go out. Or so they believed then.
Under these conditions, the Earth would also slowly cool down. Water would freeze and polar regions would be increasingly large. Ultimately, even the equatorial regions would not have enough heat to sustain life. The entire ocean would freeze in a solid block of ice and even the air would liquefy first and then freeze. For billions of years, this icy Earth would continue to revolve around the late Sun.
But even in these conditions, the Earth, as a planet, would continue to exist.
However, during the thirties, nuclear scientists first began calculating the nuclear reactions that take place inside the Sun and other stars. And they found that, although the Sun has to cool down, there will be periods of strong warming before that end. Once most of the basic fuel, which is hydrogen, is consumed, other nuclear reactions will begin to develop, which will heat the Sun and cause it to expand greatly.
Although it will emit a greater amount of heat, each portion of its now vast surface will touch a much smaller fraction of that heat and will therefore be colder. The sun will become a red giant. Under such conditions, the Earth is likely to become a coals and then vaporize. At that time, the Earth, as a solid planetary body, will end its days. But don't worry too much. Cast it still about five billion years.
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