We Now Know What Will Happen When the Sun Dies
There are only two things guaranteed in life; death and taxes, and that goes for the sun too (well, minus the taxes).
Yes, the big star in the sky will eventually die - but up until now, no one actually knew what would happen after it perished.
New research by a team at the University of Manchester and published in Nature has discovered that once the sun exhausts all of its hydrogen fuel in around 5 billion years it will turn into a giant glowing ring of dust and gas.
The astrological name for this object is a planetary nebula and could extend to the orbit of Venus and maybe beyond.
Speaking to NBC News, Dr Albert Zijlstra who worked on the study, said:
"Planetary nebulae are among the prettiest objects in the night sky.
"It is nice to know that the sun will, one day, also make one, even if we won't be around to enjoy it!"
The nebula will be visible for around 10,000 to 20,000 years and as it disperses it will eventually provide the raw materials to create a whole new set of stars and planets, which sounds like the most epic form of recycling imaginable.
The researchers managed to come to this conclusion after they created a series of computer models that analysed how quickly a star heats up after ejecting itself.
There was a belief that the sun was too small to produce a nebula but the new data showed that it would be able to produce enough heat to create a planetary nebula.
"We found that stars with mass less than 1.1 times the mass of the sun produce fainter nebula, and stars more massive than 3 solar masses brighter nebulae, but for the rest, the predicted brightness is very close to what had been observed."