Telescopes recently captured images of a star in a distant galaxy expanding and engulfing a planet for the first time. What does that mean for us back here in the Milky Way? Appearing on 710 WOR’s Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning program, retired astronomer Harold Kozak explained why these images are relevant to our sun and home.
An expanding star burns through various elements and grows into a behemoth called a red giant. “By the time the star gets to iron,” Kozak told Berman and Riedel, “which is what’s going to happen to our sun, the force of gravity is going to cause so much heat and pressure on the star that it’s going to expand out as a red giant, and in the case of our solar system, it’s going to envelop Mercury, Venus, and yes, the Earth.”
If you have any plans for Mother’s Day, however, you won’t have to rush to fit them in. According to Harold, “This is going to be in approximately four to five billion years from now, so I wouldn’t lose sleep [but] this is why we have to explore other worlds. If the human race is going to survive in the future, we’re going to have to find another planet or other planets that are inhabitable for us to live on.”
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