26.1 MB (26.0 MB compressed)
6496 x 1407 pixels
55.1 x 11.9 cm ⏐ 21.7 x 4.7 in (300dpi)
MIKKEL JUUL JENSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MIKKEL JUUL JENSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Timeline of the Sun's lifetime, artwork. Our Sun formed approximately 4.6 billion years ago from the gravitational collapse of a giant molecular cloud (GMC, far left). Eventually the Sun became hot enough to begin nuclear fusion of hydrogen. So far the Sun has used 37 per cent of this fuel and won't run out of hydrogen for another 5 billion years. At that point, nuclear reactions involving helium will begin, and the Sun will enlarge and become a red giant (centre right), engulfing the inner solar system. When all the fuel is used the Sun will collapse and become a white dwarf (centre right, extending to far right). The human figure represents the present day.
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