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End of the World? Scientists Predict Earth Could be Burned in Fiery Inferno in 5 Billion Years

Dec 08, 2016 11:51 AM EST

An international team of astronomers said that humanity could be wiped out and the Earth will face its demise via a fiery inferno that will destroy the planet.

Using the ALMA radio telescope, one of the world's largest observatory located in the Atacama Desert, the astronomers observed a nearby evolved star, L2 Puppis, which is 208 light-years away from Earth.

Using ALMA's 66 antennas and giant virtual telescope, the researchers observed how the L2 Puppis evolved throughout the years. The observation reveals that orbiting the star is a planet, which gives a glimpse of what will happen to Earth billions of years from now.

"We discovered that L2 Puppis is about 10 billion years old. Five billion years ago, the star was an almost perfect twin of our Sun as it is today, with the same mass. One-third of this mass was lost during the evolution of the star. The same will happen with our Sun in the very distant future," said Ward Homan from the KU Leuven Institute of Astronomy in a press release.

Professor Leen Decin from the KU Leuven Institute of Astronomy said that five billion years from now, the Sun will grow bigger into a red giant star.

"Five billion years from now, the Sun will have grown into a red giant star, more than a hundred times larger than its current size. It will also experience an intense mass loss through a very strong stellar wind. The end product of its evolution, 7 billion years from now, will be a tiny white dwarf star. This will be about the size of the Earth, but much heavier: one tea spoon of white dwarf material weighs about 5 tons," Decin said.

The study notes that a deeper understanding in the relationship of L2 Puppis and the planet orbiting around it will shed light on how the Sun will evolve in the future as well as how it will affect those on Earth and other bodies in the solar system.

“But the fate of the Earth is still uncertain. We already know that our sun will be bigger and brighter, so that it will probably destroy any form of life on our planet. But will the Earth’s rocky core survive the red giant phase and continue orbiting the white dwarf?” Decin noted via New York Post.

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