5-speed listening (The Sun - Level 3)

Our Sun will die in 10 billion years from now



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Scientists have worked out when our Sun will die. It won't be any time soon. It will be in 10 billion years. The scientists are from the University of Manchester in the UK. They predict that in about 5 billion years from now, the Sun will turn into a "red giant". This is the scientific name given to a star at the end of its life. When our Sun becomes a red giant, its centre will shrink. Its outer layers will expand as far as Mars. This means Earth will be burnt and disappear. After our Sun turns into a red giant, it will become a planetary nebula. This is a bubble of gas and space dust. The scientists say no humans will be on Earth when the Sun dies out. Humans will disappear in around one billion years from now.

The Sun is still quite young in space years. It is just 4.6 billion years old. This means it is only around one third into its lifespan. Professor Albert Zijlstra, a scientist from the University of Manchester, explained what happens at the end of a star's life. He said: "When a star dies, it ejects a mass of gas and dust into space.…This reveals the star's core. By this point in the star's life, it is running out of fuel." He said it eventually turns off and dies. Professor Zijlstra was happy that modern science can calculate the age of stars and what will happen to them. He said we can measure the presence of stars in distant galaxies, and "we even have found out what the Sun will do when it dies".

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