Tuesday, February 19, 2008

First, The Sun Blows Up

Well, actually not. Ours is too small for something like that; it takes a larger star than what we have to end its life by collapsing and then exploding so violently that it can be seen by telescopes at vast distances. Or, occasionally, even in the day with no help at all.

If our planet is going to be fried, I guess the best way would be by a supernova, a gigantic exploding star around which we have been revolving for billions of years. The thing runs out of fuel (hydrogen), it suddenly collapses and then blows up and takes all its planets with it. Now you see us, now you don’t.

In our case, it’s going to be a much slower process. The sun will slowly run out of fuel and shrink. Then it will grow outward and eat up Mercury and Venus.

In case you’re not sure, we’re the third planet out. After the late Mercury and Venus.

Fortunately, the sun’s gravity will have lessened and we will orbit further out than ever before. Temperatures will be lower at that distance than where we might have been. Perhaps in the hundreds of thousands of degrees, rather than millions. Or something like that.

Obviously, life will have been burnt to a crisp. We won’t have to worry about balancing our checkbook, wondering if we will have trouble getting up our steep road in the winter, or almost anything else. Not even global warming.


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