Archive for October, 2011

Solar System Ends

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Nothing lasts forever, including our solar system. But how to demonstrate the end of our sun? This is a simple way to show what scientists think will end our planet in about 4 billion years.

Our sun is a medium sized star.  Millions of years from today as the sun ages it will grow into a red giant and as a result destory Mercury and Venus by causing them to explode. As for the Earth, the growing sun is predicted to rip away our atmosphere. As the sun dies, it will burn out leaving a cold small mass.

Why doesn’t our sun explode like a supernova? The answer is: our sun is too small. If our sun were 100 times larger, as a supernova, the intense pressure of gravity and burning fuels would bring about an end as an explosion seen many light years away and would create a black hole.

Materials: white, yellow and red balloons, straight pin, globe, and painted black golf ball.

Process: Blow up the yellow and white balloons and tie off. Blow up the red balloon and hold shut with your fingers. The yellow represents our present day sun. The red represents our sun at the end of its life. Have one volunteer hold the globe and another the red balloon. Now release the air from the red balloon across the globe, to represent the dying sun blowing the atmosphere off our planet.

The white balloon represents the supernova. One volunteer holds the balloon and a second volunteer the pin and the golf ball. Pop the balloon and hold up the golf ball to show what remains when a large star dies.