MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The Sun as a red giant. Illustration showing the Sun at its maximum extent as a red giant; some 7 billion years from now. The present-day orbits of the inner three planets are shown for comparison. As the sun runs out of nuclear fuel at the end of the main sequence, it will expand into a red giant and begin to shed mass. The inner two planets will be engulfed. Earth might escape, as it moves to a more distant orbit as the Sun's gravity reduces as a result of mass loss.
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