This Is More Likely How The World Ends

We can daydream about alien invasion, killer robots and rampaging genetic mutations, but the world is more likely to go on until something like this happens: the death of a star.

Sure, we'll all be long-dead by the time it happens, but it's nice to image that our sun will look nearly as pretty as this remnant of a star that died 5000 years ago in the Large Magellanic Cloud. This image is the result of a compositing of images from the Hubble telescope (the yellow and purple bits) and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory (in blue).

For those of you who prefer the doom and gloom theory of our solar system's demise, you can imagine that this is a giant star corpse, which would directly lead to the formation of giant star zombies, heading our way any second.

Our sun's death will likely be a lot less spectacular. This particular solar demise is a core-collapse supernova, which occurs when a star at least eight times the size of Sol runs out of fuel. Without materials to power the nuclear fusion at its core, the star tries to fuse iron into heavier elements. That trick never works.

Instead, it speeds up the stars collapse, eventually resulting in an explosion so massive it can lead to the creation of neutron stars and black holes.

Our sun will probably just quietly fizzle out. Knowing humans, it'll have something to do with us figuring out how to mine it or something.

Knowing humans, tickets will be available for the show.

Beautiful Supernova Violence [Discovery News]


Comments

    "Knowing humans, tickets will be available for the show."

    Reminds me of an ep of Doctor Who (from the new series) when they travelled to the year 5,000,000,000. The sun's life had been artificially extended with the help of gravity pumps. When money to run the pumps had run out, they evacuated the earth, set up a viewing platform, turned off the pumps and sold tickets to the galaxy's wealthy elite...

      Nice. Would make some rather spectacular viewing.

      Kind of reminds me of the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, though.

      that was the only episode of dr who ive ever seen but it was awesome!

    I just hope somewhere along the way, someone way smarter than me finds a way for the human race to go on indefinitely.

    Everyone needs to watch Stephen Hawking: In to the Universe. The third episode goes in to this in spectacular detail.

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