LYNETTE COOK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LYNETTE COOK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Future Sun. Artwork of the Sun 6.2 billion years from now, as seen from near the planet Mars (lower right). The Sun has become a red giant and swelled to near the orbit of the Earth (small disc seen at lower left on the Sun), and pushed the planets out into new orbits. Earth's surface will be molten and lifeless. This stage in the Sun's life occurs when the hydrogen fuel fusing in its central core has been exhausted. Gravitational collapse allows hydrogen fusion to restart around the inert core. The energy from this stage causes the massive expansion of the outer layers of the star. This stage, about 700-million-years long, ends with the formation of a small white dwarf Sun.
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