European Space Agency's (ESA) Gaia spacecraft determines our sun is 4.57 billion years old, thinks it is middle-aged

The sun will die…but don’t worry it won’t happen for another 5 billion years, ESA predicts

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Gaia spacecraft has made a chilling prediction that our sun is almost halfway through its lifespan, and when it reaches its end, it will swell and destroy our planet – But data from the spacecraft suggests that won’t happen for at least another five billion years.

Gaia determined that the Sun is approximately 4.57 billion years old, and by determining its mass and composition, the device estimated how the Sun will evolve in the future.

Its path to demise began at an age of about 1 to 11 billion years, when it became a red giant and rapidly and significantly increased in size.

From here, the sun races toward death, eventually becoming a cool, dim white dwarf — the hot, dense core of a dead star.

Currently, the Sun is considered “middle-aged” and stable when it fuses hydrogen into helium.

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European Space Agency’s (ESA) Gaia spacecraft determines our sun is 4.57 billion years old, thinks it is middle-aged

About 930,000 miles from Earth, Gaia carries two telescopes to record the Milky Way while studying stars to predict their futures.

While humans have long believed that the sun will soon swallow the entire planet, new data from ESA puts those fears to rest.

Our planet will not be destroyed once the sun reaches 8 billion years old, which is when it reaches its highest temperature, as Gaia has determined.

In at least 2 billion years, the sun will begin to cool and more than double its current size. Its width is about 846,000 miles.

French astronomer Orlagh Creevey, who worked with Gaia, explained that finding a star similar to our sun is crucial so we can understand how it fits into the universe.

Its path to demise began at an age of about 1 to 11 billion years, when it became a red giant and rapidly and significantly increased in size.From here, the sun rushes toward death, eventually becoming a cool, dim white dwarf—the hot, dense core of a dead star

Its path to demise began at an age of about 1 to 11 billion years, when it became a red giant and rapidly and significantly increased in size.From here, the sun rushes toward death, eventually becoming a cool, dim white dwarf—the hot, dense core of a dead star

“If we don’t understand our own sun — and there are so many things we don’t — how can we expect to understand all the other stars that make up our wondrous galaxy,” he said in a statement.

“Ironically, the Sun is our closest and most studied star, but its proximity forces us to study it with very different telescopes and instruments than those we use to observe other stars.”

Earth’s sun contains a lot of iron, which makes it burn brighter than other stars.

“By identifying stars that are similar to the Sun, but this time of similar age, we can bridge this observational gap,” the researchers shared.

The Sun has recently made headlines for its explosive activity.

News broke recently this week that a “cannibal” jet blasted high-energy, highly magnetized, superheated gas toward Earth.

The stream, known as a coronal mass ejection (CME), shot out of sunspot AR3078 on Monday before engulfing a previous jet released the day before — think it cannibals. It becomes a “mix of the two,” with tangled magnetic fields and compressed plasmas, highly ionized gases known to cause powerful geomagnetic storms.

Once the sun reaches 8 billion years old, our planet will not be destroyed, as determined by Gaia, the sun will reach its maximum temperature

Once the sun reaches 8 billion years old, our planet will not be destroyed, as determined by Gaia, the sun will reach its maximum temperature

Coronal mass ejections can eject billions of tons of coronal material from the surface of the sun. The material consists of plasma and magnetic field.

Such eruptions have the potential to trigger space weather, disrupt Earth’s satellites and power grids, and cause harm to unprotected astronauts.

Aurora Borealis was witnessed after a solar storm hit Earth on July 19, producing electric greens and purples in the northern United States and Canada.

Soon after, on August 3, another solar storm warning was issued.

There was also a C9.3 flare shot from the sun that Sunday, but it didn’t erupt on the Earth-facing side of the sun.

It did, however, cause enough commotion to be caught by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory — a spacecraft that has been studying our massive star since its launch in 2010.

Mike Cook, who works on space weather operations, told the Daily Mail that there is a coronal hole in the southwest region of the sun’s surface that is spewing “gaseous material”.

This increases the speed of the solar wind by shooting it in the stream.

The recent increase in solar activity is due to its entry into the most active phase of the 11-year solar cycle – peaking in 2024.

The research shows that the level of solar activity occurring today is about the same as it was 11 years ago at the same point in the previous cycle.

What is the European Space Agency’s Gaia probe? What is it designed for?

Gaia is an ambitious mission to map our galaxy in three dimensions, revealing its composition, formation and evolution in the process.

Since its launch in December 2013 by the European Space Agency (ESA), Gaia has been orbiting the sun nearly 1 million miles outside Earth’s orbit.

During its journey, the probe has been discreetly taking pictures of the Milky Way, identifying stars from smaller galaxies that were engulfed by our own long ago.

Gaia is expected to discover tens of thousands of previously undiscovered objects, including asteroids that could one day threaten Earth, planets orbiting nearby stars, and exploding supernovae.

An artist's impression of Gaia's drawing of the Milky Way's stars.  Gaia's mapping effort is already unprecedented in scale, but it's still a few years away from running. Gaia maps the positions of the Milky Way's stars in several ways.It can pinpoint the positions of stars, but the probe can also map each star's motion by scanning each star about 70 times

An artist’s impression of Gaia’s drawing of the Milky Way’s stars. Gaia maps the positions of the Milky Way’s stars in several ways.It can pinpoint the positions of stars, but the probe can also map each star’s motion by scanning each star about 70 times

Astrophysicists also want to learn more about the distribution of dark matter, the invisible matter thought to hold the observable universe together.

They also plan to test Einstein’s theory of general relativity by observing how the sun and its planets deflect light.

The satellite’s gigapixel camera is the largest in space, so powerful it can measure the diameter of a single human hair at a distance of 621 miles (1,000 kilometers).

This means that nearby stars have been located with unprecedented accuracy.

Gaia maps the positions of the Milky Way’s stars in several ways.

Gaia's all-sky view of our Milky Way and neighboring galaxies based on measurements of nearly 1.7 billion stars. This map shows the total brightness and color of stars observed by ESA satellites in each part of the sky between July 2014 and May 2016. Brighter regions represent higher concentrations of particularly bright stars, while dimmer regions correspond to less bright patches of stars in the sky being observed. The color representation was obtained by combining the total amount of light with the amount of blue and red light that Gaia recorded in each area of ​​the sky.

Gaia’s all-sky view of our Milky Way and neighboring galaxies based on measurements of nearly 1.7 billion stars. This map shows the total brightness and color of stars observed by ESA satellites in each part of the sky between July 2014 and May 2016. Brighter regions represent higher concentrations of particularly bright stars, while dimmer regions correspond to less bright patches of stars in the sky being observed. The color representation was obtained by combining the total amount of light with the amount of blue and red light that Gaia recorded in each area of ​​the sky.

It can pinpoint the positions of stars, but the probe can also map each star’s motion by scanning each star about 70 times.

This allows scientists to calculate the distance between Earth and each star, a crucial measure.

In September 2016, ESA released the first data collected by Gaia, which included information on the brightness and position of more than a billion stars.

In April 2018, this expanded to high-precision measurements of nearly 1.7 billion stars.

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