Aired 5 years ago on 77WABC Radio 
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Science

Here's How The World Will (Probably) End

Author and astronomer Ken Croswell explains to the John Batchelor show what will happen to the sun, and probably to the Earth, a very, very, long time from now.

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"Billions of years from now, it will become even bigger, even brighter, it will become a red giant star ... it may even swallow the Earth."

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NASA Getty Images David McNew
TRANSCRIPT This transcript was generated by AudioBurst technologies

In 7.8 billion years our sun will become a white dwarf. - I was concerned about that. We are going to become a white dwarf, we're not now a dwarf at all, we're a G type star, you like our star a lot. - Oh, we've got a great star, and we're the right distance from it, our star emits more light than 95 percent of all stars in the galaxy, it's a very bright star, but billions of years from now, it will become even bigger, even brighter, it will become a red giant star and it will at that time, swallow Mercury, it may swallow Venus, it may even swallow the Earth. So our days are numbered, possibly, and then it will shed its outer layers, and expose its hot core, which will contract into a white dwarf, so the sun's final destiny is to become a white dwarf star, much like this white dwarf in the constellation Virgo. - Would it turn Mercury, Venus and Earth into asteroids? Is that what we're looking as possible prior Earth here? - Well, it's going to completely destroy Mercury, it's probably going to disturb the orbits of the planets that do survive in our solar system, it's probably going to stir up the asteroids so they collide into Earth if Earth survives, it's even possible that different planets will smash into each other.