A Sunny Day You’ll Be Happy to Miss

May 4, 2011 | CUNY Lecture Series, Hunter College

When the sun runs out of hydrogen — about 5 billion years from now — it will become a planetary nebulae, an expanding shell of thin, ionized gas. “It’s going to be pretty for a distant observer, says Kelle Cruz, professor of physics and astronomy at Hunter College, “but the outcome will not be pretty for us.” In a Serving Science Cafe Series lecture, “Using the Solar Neighborhood as a Petri Dish for the Universe,” Cruz describes how the sun will puff out its outer layers and expand, exposing its hot stellar core and, as a result, the Earth will most likely evaporate. “One of the reasons I study the solar neighborhood,” says Cruz, “is because the sun is going to shine for another 5 billion years, but at its end we’re going to need to go some place else.”
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