Astronomers and physicists have been trying to find out the ultimate fate of the Solar System for hundreds of years. One day, our Sun will die, expelling a large proportion of its mass before its core shrinks to white dwarfs, gradually dropping heat until billions of years later it is nothing more than a chunk of cold rock, dark. and die.
But the rest of the Solar System will be gone by then. According to new simulations by a group of American scientists, it will take only 100 billion years for the remaining planets, which are smaller than previously thought, to cross the galaxy, leaving the Sun that is die after.
“Understanding the long-term dynamic stability of the Solar System is one of the oldest discoveries in astrophysics, dating back to Newton himself, who speculated that interaction between planets would eventually lead to an unstable system,” wrote the authors of the study. , published in The Astronomical Journal.
Furthermore, it is not just the dynamics of immovable objects that must be considered, according to astronomers. The Sun will evolve dramatically as it ages out of the main sequence, increasing to the size that surrounds the orbits of Mercury, Venus, and Earth and losing nearly half of its mass over the next 7 billion years .
The outer planets will survive this evolution, but will not escape unscathed: since gravitational pull of the Sun’s mass is what governs the orbits of the planets, losing weight from our Sun will cause The outer planets move further away. further, weakening its connection to our Solar System.
What happens next?
Astronomers Jon Zink of the University of California, Konstantin Batygin of Caltech, and Fred Adams of the University of Michigan interpret a scenario using a series of numerical simulations in their newspaper.
These simulations explore what will happen to our outer planets after the Sun has consumed the inner planets, lose half of your mass and start your new life as a white dwarf. The team shows how the giant planets will migrate outward in response to the loss of the Sun’s mass, forming a stable configuration where Jupiter rotates five times for every two orbits of Saturday.
But our Solar System does not exist in isolation: there are other stars in the galaxy, and one passes near us every 20 million years. Zink and his colleagues include the effects of these other stars in their imitations.
They show that, within about 30 billion years, the stellar flybys will have disrupted the outer planets enough for the fixed configuration to become chaotic, throwing most of the giant planets out of the Solar System quickly.
In this way, 100 billion years from now, there will be even this last remaining planet as well destabilized by stellar flybys and thrown out of the Solar System. Once displaced, the giant planets roam the galaxy independently, joining the population of free-floating planets with no host stars.
The Astronomical Journal, The Truth, AstronomiaWeb, Youtube.