(ANSA) – O Sun has a future of crystal Within 10 billion years, our star It solidifies as its oldest "sisters", who developed a nucleus of solid oxygen and carbon to become true crystal spheres.
This phenomenon, predicted 50 years ago by scientists, was demonstrated for the first time by data collected by the Gaia satellite of the European Space Agency (Esa). The research was finally published in the journal Nature by scientists at the University of Warwick in Britain.
The study examined the color and brightness of about 15,000 white dwarfs, that is, stars similar to our Sun that reached the final stage of their evolution after the burning of all their "fuel."
Stars, like the Sun, use hydrogen as fuel and burn it to get helium into their nuclei by nuclear fusion. Considered among the oldest stellar objects in the universe, white dwarfs have a predictable life cycle that are often used as "cosmic clocks" to accurately estimate the age of star clusters near them.
Observations made thanks to the Gaia satellite show that these ancient stars develop a heart of solid oxygen and carbon because during their life they crystallize, that is, they undergo a transitional phase similar to that which transforms water into ice, but at much higher temperatures. .
This phenomenon can slow down their cooling, making them potentially older than has been hypothesized so far in the scientific world. "All white dwarfs crystallize sooner or later in their evolution, though the more massive the dwarf begins the process earlier," says astrophysicist Pier Emmanuel Tremblay. "This means that billions of white dwarfs in our galaxy have already completed the process and are essentially crystal spheres in the sky," he said.
And he concluded: "The Sun itself will become a dwarf of white crystal in the course of 10 billion years."