Intergalactic Beacon

                                               The Birth & Death of our Sun
Greetings my Earthling Friends. I refreshed your memory on Gravity in my fourth Article: "Basic Gravity", and hinted at Stellar Evolution in my second Article:"The Universe, Reality, and You." Now we will go into some detail with Stellar Evolution concerning the lives of Massive Stars as well as Stars like our Sun. The Stars seem permanent and unchanging because our lives are so short. If we lived to be tens of millions of years old we would see Stars being born, reaching middle age, and Stars Dying. Massive Stars burn their fuel at a very fast rate so their lives are short compared to our Sun which is classified as a "Yellow Dwarf Star" and has a life span of 10,000,000,000 (10 Billion) Years! Our Sun is called a "Yellow Dwarf" because its color is Yellow and its smaller in size than the average Star. This is a very good thing for life here on Planet Earth because we are only 93 million miles from our Sun, so if it was a bigger Star the Earth would be too Hot for life as we know it to exist! Planet Earth is the perfect distance from the sun to support liquid water and Life as we know it. Earth is Truly the "Garden of Eden" in our Solar System. You know that Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system and it would take 1,300 Earths to fill planet Jupiter, but it would take 1,000,000 (1 million) Earths to fill the Sun. This gives you an idea of just how massive the Sun is better than just saying its diameter is 864,400 miles. I have listed the data from my Planets article for you here: Diameter: 864,400 miles Temperature: Surface: 9,926 deg F; Core: 27,000,000 deg F Rotation period (in Earth time): at equator: 25.53 days at poles: 35 days Number of planets: 9 Distance from the Earth (light years): about 8 minutes miles: 93 million Distance to nearest star (light years) 4.3 One Light Year = approximately 6 Trillion Miles and is the distance Light travels in one year. The Speed of Light is 186,200 Miles per Second, so it only takes SunLight 8.333 Minutes to reach Earth at the Speed of Light! Our Sun Remember in my second article when I told you: That is correct my Earthling friends you are made of Star Stuff! The chemical Elements that make up your body and this Solar System, were cooked in the ovens of Giant Stars, then blown to the four winds by the Supernova Explosions of dying Giant Stars. These explosions spray the mass of the Star and all the chemical elements, like Iron and Calcium, that were created deep in its nuclear oven, back into space. Over time this chemical rich material, along with blobs of gas and dust, from the exploding Star will coalesce, accumulate, and reform, due to the forces of gravity, into a new Solar System, or Star Birth region some other place in the Galaxy. All these things were going on for Billions of years before Earth and our solar system even existed! From the above facts you can see how the Universe both destroys and creates on a Huge scale and is constantly renewing itself. I offer our own Solar System as proof of the Stellar Evolution processes we are studying. Our Sun is a "Yellow Dwarf Star" and it is smaller and not as Hot as the Giant Stars we have been talking about that are 8 times bigger or more than our Sun. The Heaviest Element a "Yellow Dwarf Star" like our Sun can produce in its oven is Iron. This is the same as the Iron in your Blood! Yet here on Earth we also have the Heavier Element, Uranium, which we use in our Nuclear Reactors! Uranium can only form in stars far bigger than our Sun. What this means is that 6 Billion years ago, or longer, a Massive Star much bigger than our Sun was here in this general Area of the Galaxy. The Massive Star ended its life in a Supernova Explosion as we discussed above, spreading its mass and Chemical Elements all over this sector of the Galaxy. Our Solar System formed from part of this mass and that is how the Heavy Element Uranium is present on Planet Earth! There was also a large amount of Iron in the cloud of mass that gave birth to our Solar System. Planet Earth has a molten Iron Core which gives Earth a strong Magnetic Field! Later I will explain just how important that Magnetic Field is to life here on Earth! While our Solar System was forming, the Sun, being the largest object, gathered up most of the mass in this area. The Sun got bigger and bigger and the internal pressure and temperature got higher and higher. Finally the critical point was reached and with a bang our Sun ignited and became a Star. Our Sun is made of hydrogen and helium gas super heated into a Plasma that burns at millions of degrees. Long ago the early scientists could not figure out how the Sun continued to burn for such a long, long time. Today we know that the Sun is powered by Nuclear Fusion which is the same force that powers a Hydrogen Bomb. The Sun fuses millions of tons of Hydrogen into millions of tons of Helium every second, and this is the force that keeps the Sun burning, and keeps gravity from collapsing the Sun. In One Second the Sun gives off more power than the Human race has used in all of its history! The Sun is a perfectly balanced Fusion Reactor that gives off the heat and light needed to sustain life here on Earth. The Earth and the Sun both have Magnetic Fields just like the every day run of the mill magnet here on Earth. You probably have some on the refrigerator in your kitchen holding up pictures drawn by the kids or notes and ETC. These magnets are simple to deal with. They are solid and have north and south poles. For this article lets imagine we have two simple rectangular magnets two inches long and one inch wide. From your experience as a child you will remember that to connect the 2 magnets to each other you must connect the North pole of one magnet to the South pole of the other magnet because like poles repel each other and opposite poles attract each other. When you try to connect the 2 north poles you feel the invisible magnetic force stopping you and keeping them apart! The Earth is a giant magnet because its Molten Core is made mostly of Iron and some Nickel. The Earth has two magnetic poles just like our 2 simple magnets. The Earth has a North Pole and a South Pole and the Earth rotates as a solid. The Sun is superheated Plasma and has differential Rotation. What this means is that the Sun rotates at different Speeds. Rotation at the Sun's equator takes 25 Earth days, while rotation at the poles can take up to 35 days! This causes a Severe Twist in the Sun's Magnetic Field and creates 1 to 10 million magnetic poles instead of just 2 magnetic poles like Earth and the magnets! This twisted magnetic field generates immense power and heat. Sunspots are the result of this strong magnetic field trapping energy boiling up from the Sun's interior and letting these areas cool down by 1,000 degrees or so. They appear as dark or black spots on the Sun's surface. They are about the size of Earth and are not really dark. If we could remove a SunSpot from the Sun and place it by itself out in space it would be 10 times brighter than the full moon! Finally the magnetic field energy capping off the Sunspot is over come by the energy boiling up from the Sun's interior and a Solar Flare erupts from the SunSpot area blasting solar matter and energy millions of miles into space. The Picture of the Sun at the start of this article and in my Planets article, shows the remnant of one of these Solar Flare explosions at the lower left of the Sun. Sometimes these flares head towards Earth and cause vivid displays of the Northern and Southern Lights, knock out power lines and communications, or damage satellites. Though our magnetic field deflects most of the particles, some get through when they break magnetic force lines on the far side of Earth. Their energy races down the broken magnetic field line to the North or South pole of Earth creating the Northern & Southern Lights. The Sun also gives off a constant stream of charged particles we call the "Solar Wind". When comets come into the inner solar system their long gaseous tails always point away from the Sun because of the Solar Wind. The Sun also gives off X-rays and Ultraviolet Rays as well as Heat and Light. Earth's magnetic field and our atmosphere protect Humans from the Solar Wind and these rays. If not for Earth's strong magnetic field the Solar Wind would have eroded our atmosphere away by now and our oceans would evaporate to space. The Core of Planet Mars cooled off long ago and hardened and Mars lost her protective magnetic field. Over time most of the Martian atmosphere has been lost to space. Our Sun is middle aged and is approximately 5 Billion years old. The Sun and its magnetic field have been nurturing and protecting Earth for all its life from Cosmic Rays and other dangers from deep space. However, the day will come when the Sun will become Earth's worst enemy. About 5 billion years from now, our Sun will use up all its Hydrogen Fuel and begin to cool and gradually collapse due to the force of Gravity. The Energy created by the collapse of the Sun makes internal temperature and pressure go higher and higher in the core of the Sun. Finally, the core is heated to hundreds of millions of degrees which is hot enough to start burning the Helium in the core. The Sun is now many times hotter than before and these higher temperatures cause the Sun to expand and turn Red in color. Our Sun is now becoming a "Red Giant" Star. The Sun will continue to expand and get larger and larger. The Sun will expand to engulf the planet Mercury first and then continue to expand until it devours the planet Venus as well. The Sun is so large now it stretches from one side of the orbit of Venus to the other! By now the Earth has been burned to a frazzle and then super heated into a molten ball of rock and metal devoid of all life. Some scientists think the Red Giant Sun will devour Earth as well and others think it may stop short of Earth's orbit. Either way the Earth we knew will be destroyed along with Mercury and Venus. Over time the outer gaseous layers of the Sun become so unstable they will float away into space leaving behind a small Core about the size of the Earth which will fade into a "White Dwarf Star". While the layers float away they are bombarded by Ultraviolet Rays from the Core and they begin to glow and become visible like the "Ring Nebula" or the Cat's Eye Nebula which were photographed by our Hubble Space Telescope. Now people many Light Years away see our dying solar system as a beautiful new Nebula in the night sky. Our Sun ends its life creating what is called a "Planetary Nebula" by Astronomers, and is another way of spraying all its mass and elements back into space, like the Giant Star we talked about at the beginning of this article. The process of creating a "Planetary Nebula" has nothing to do with a planet. Sir William Herschel the famous astronomer that discovered the Planet Uranus back in 1781 while doing his third Night Sky Survey, had also viewed many Nebula in the night sky. He thought of them as big fuzzy planets so he named them "Planetary Nebulas" and the name stuck. Sir William Herschel became famous overnight for discovering, Uranus, the first planet to be found since prehistoric times! Southern Ring Nebula Massive Stars 8 times the size of our Sun and larger end their lives with gigantic Supernova explosions like the one that formed the "Crab Nebula" when it exploded on July 4th, 1054 AD. When a Star goes Supernova it becomes the brightest object in that area of the sky for a time and was observed by Chinese astronomers, and north American Indians here on Earth. The Supernova was so bright it was visible in daylight for 23 days and at night for almost 2 years. The Crab Nebula is located in the constellation Taurus, about 5,000 Light-Years from Earth. The Crab Nebula is still expanding and is roughly 5 to 10 Light-Years in diameter. The Crab Nebula We have learned that Stars are born, live their lives, and then die by Supernova if they are massive, or by becoming a "Red Giant" and forming a "Planetary Nebula" like our Sun. The third way is forming a "Black Hole" which we will discuss in a later article. Stars spread their mass and the Elements they created in their nuclear oven back into space, so the cycle continues. The Calcium in your Bones, the Iron in your Blood, and our precious Atmosphere all came from the Stars, so you are Truly made of "Star Stuff" my Earthling Friends. Live Long and Prosper. May the Force be with you. May He whom the winds fear Light your Way and Guide your steps on your journey through this Life! Written by: The Galactic Sage get full size pictures in the PICS section on my Home Page


Read Planet Venus, second from the Sun.

Read InterStellar Travel                                                  Read The Universe Reality and You

Read Planet Earth where are You?                               Read Basic Gravity 101 (easy to understand)

Read Roswell, Aliens, and Mankind!                             Read the Asteroid Threat to planet Earth!

Read UFO's the Alien Point of View.                             Planetary Statistics and Pictures

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