• Question: do you think there would be a mother wave that could come and destroy our planet. and do you think the sun would ever explode and destroy our planets

    Asked by nicky_ to Colin, John, Kevin, Shikha, Triona on 13 Nov 2014. This question was also asked by Benmacanbeatha, jamie.
    • Photo: Colin Johnston

      Colin Johnston answered on 13 Nov 2014:

      I’m sorry but I’ve never heard of a “mother wave”? What is it?

      The rest of your question I can answer.

      Our Sun now is a main sequence star. This means the Sun is in its prime of life, steadily converting hydrogen into helium in its core and producing heat and light as a by-product. There are huge stars called red giants. These are stars which are runing out of hydrogen in their cores and are instead generating energy using other fuels such as helium. Producing energy this way makes them swell enormously into bloated stars with reddish surfaces, cool by the standards of stars.

      In the distant future, 6.4 billion years or so from now our Sun is doomed to become one of these red giants. The Sun will redden, it’s surface cooling, and it will expand enormously. Planet Mercury absorbed by the expanding Sun, Venus will probably meet the same fate and the icy moons of Jupiter will be vaporised. But theory suggests Earth as a planet will survive but as an airless ball of rock.

      The Sun cannot actually explode or tear itself to pieces. It’s too small and doesn’t have enough nuclear fuel to explode. We do see this happen to stars ten times or more larger than the Sun.

      Red giant stars like the Sun will become blasting off great clouds of gas until eventually all the star’s outer layers have been blown away into space. Eventually only the tiny shrunken core, about the size of the Earth, remains as what is called a white dwarf. White dwarf stars no longer produce light by nuclear fusion, merely continuing to glow like dying embers until they have slowly cooled to cold black balls of dense matter not much bigger than a planet. This will be the ultimate fate of our Sun. A cold, dead earth will still be orbiting it.

      Thankfully this sad fate lies far in the future!

    • Photo: Kevin Motherway

      Kevin Motherway answered on 19 Nov 2014:

      @nicky @Benmacanbeatha @ jamie

      As Colin outlines not likely given the size of our sun, but our sun does frequently belch out huge portions of its atmosphere (or Corona) and these Coronal Mass Ejections can cause all sorts of havoc to satellites and even powerlines when the energetic particles hit the earth. thankfully our magnetic field shields us (as we a liquid iron outer core in motion generating the magnetic field). The people most at risk are the 6 personnel on the Space Station as they are above much of the protective layer of the magnetic field and they have procedure to go t more shielded parts of the station if a big Coronal Mass Ejection occurs! Planets that are smaller and have lost most of their heat don’t have a liquid out core and have no magnetic field to shield them, like mars and the moon, so any astronauts there would be in big trouble if one went off and they didn’t have shelter!

    • Photo: Shikha Sharma

      Shikha Sharma answered on 20 Nov 2014:

      Hi Nicky,Benmacanbeatha, jamie,

      About 5 to 7 billion years later, when Sun consumes all its nuclear fuel it will eventually turn into a red giant. It’s core will remain hot and outer space will expand cool down rapidly (not explodes!!!). However, it is estimated that, due to raid expansion, size of the Sun will become so big that it come near to earth orbit. Though it will cool down, it’s temperature will still remain very very hot. The entire ocean, seas and other water bodies will boil and climate of the earth will become inhabitable leading to the death of all sorts of life. Don’t think about much….it is 7 billion years later.
      However, Sun will not explode like other big stars as Sun’s mass is not as high as other big starts. Bigger stars explode into supernova, turn into black hole, suck everything into a point due to its strong gravitational pull from center and finally get destroyed. However you can still feel the existence of the death star as it continues to throws gravitation pull!!!! But you can’t see it any more.