How long until the sun goes out? And what will happen to us then?

Everyone says that one day the sun will go out. But how long will that last and when the sun goes out what will happen to us?

Asker: Elena, 12 years old

Answer

The Sun is indeed going to go out one day, but we don’t have to worry about that just yet. The Sun will certainly last several billion years. There are much more pressing problems that we must survive first (wars, global warming, overpopulation) before the sun goes out.

Before the Sun goes out, it will first grow much larger in its last convulsions. So the Earth will not die from freezing but from burning. If the Earth is still inhabited within a few billion years, we will only be able to survive by moving to planets & moons that are much further from the Sun.
But billions of years is still a very long time. Remember, home sapiens sapiens hasn’t even been around for a million years!

Answered by

Dr. David Bergmans

solar physics, astrophysics

Royal Observatory of Belgium
Boulevard Boechout 10 1020 Brussels
http://www.astro.oma.be/

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