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Re: Future Of The Solar System Question

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Posted by Gerald Dondanville on November 30, 2001 08:21:47 UTC

Personally I do not think that mercury, venus, or the earth will survive the red giant phase. When the sun swells out to almost the orbit of mars, not only will the inner planets get fried roasted blasted and scorched all at once, but they will be inside the astmosphere of the sun. This drag on the planets orbits will cause those orbits to decay until the planets get so close that they will break up and/or vaporize. So that by the time the white dwarf phase is reached the inner planets will be gone.

Some links for you;


  • Sci.Astro's Solar System FAQ
  • Space.Com discussion, "When SUN goes off"
  • Bad Astronomer's discussion, "The Earth's future


A part of the Bad Astronomer's discussion that got my attention deals with the fate of the earth well before the sun starts to change into a red giant; Basically, the Earth becomes too hot in a range of 60 - 1300 myr, the Earth runs out of CO2 from 350 to 1300 myr, and it runs out of water from 350 to 1200 myr. I wonder if these are reasonable figures; the proposed mechanisms are entirely reasonable ones.


Let's hope that humans or at least some creature that call humans ancestor is around to witness any of it.

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