- A study by ESA has revealed that Sun is going through a mid-life crisis.
- According to ESA, the sun is currently bursting with solar flares.
- "When it starts to die, the Sun will expand into a red giant star", NASA earlier said.
Sun mid life crisis: A study by the European Space Agency (ESA) has revealed that the celestial body responsible for giving us light, the Sun, is going through a mid-life crisis, a stage experienced by all humans and one that clearly even the mighty star couldn't escape. According to ESA, the sun is currently bursting with solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and solar storms. It has entered its middle age, estimated to be around 4.57 billion years. The study was conducted with the help of data collected by the Gaia spacecraft.
NASA, on the other hand, had earlier said in its report, "When it starts to die, the Sun will expand into a red giant star, becoming so large that it will engulf Mercury and Venus, and possibly Earth as well. Scientists predict the Sun is a little less than halfway through its lifetime and will last another 5 billion years or so before it becomes a white dwarf."
Coming back to the ESA study, the Sun is at the peak of its 11-year solar cycle, and as the cycle ends, the frequency of solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and solar storms will decrease.
As the Sun gets older, the hydrogen in the Sun's core will run out and the Sun will turn into a giant red star, lowering its surface temperature and cooling off. According to the ESA, as the Sun will reach the end of its life cycle, it will become a dim white dwarf star.
Orlagh Creevey from Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, France searched through the data by studying some of the oldest stars in the Milky Way Galaxy with surface temperatures between 3000K and 10,000K. Orlagh said, “We wanted to have a really pure sample of stars with high precision measurements.”
The study concluded that the Sun will reach its peak temperatures nearly 8 billion years into the future after which it will lower its surface temperature and increase its size.
(inputs from European Space Agency report)