MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Future Sun. Artwork of the future Sun as seen from the planet Mars. The Sun has become a red giant and swelled to fill the orbit of the Earth. This stage in stellar evolution occurs when the hydrogen fuel for nuclear fusion in the central core has been exhausted. A period of gravitational collapse allows hydrogen burning to restart in a shell around the inert core. The energy from this stage causes the massive expansion of the outer layers of the star. It is estimated that the Sun will enter this stage of its life in around 4.
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