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The Fate of the Solar System


Scientists believe that stars do not always remain the same. We believe our Sun and our solar system was formed by the collapse of a cloud of gas and dust in space 4.6 billion years ago. The Sun is now a middle aged star, with 9 planets and many other bodies near it in the solar system. In another 5 billion years, scientists think that the Sun will become much larger as energy from within makes the outer layers of the Sun expand, eventually becoming red giant. As this happens, most of the inner planets will be destroyed (including Earth). Eventually, after another 100 million years, the Sun will no longer be able to make energy, and will become a white dwarf, the size of a small planet.



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The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store.

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