In the distant future, our sun will expand, engulfing our planet in fire – and killing anything that might live on the surface.
A new image captured by the Hubble space telescope has offered a glimpse of our fiery future – in the form of a dying star just like our own Sun. Our sun will become incredibly beautiful as it sheds its outer gases – having already flash-fried any human beings that might be left on Earth, in about five billion years time.
The pictured star, Kohoutek 4-55, is located 4,600 light years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Cygnus, so we are watching its death 4,600 years ago.
‘The intricate swirls of gas offer us a glimpse of our Sun’s distant future,’ the European Space Agency said.
‘In 5 billion years’ time, our star will be dying.
‘It is expected to behave in the same way as see here, shedding its outer layers to reveal the burning core, which then becomes a slowly cooling ember known as a white dwarf.
‘By that time, Earth will be long gone, burnt to a crisp as the Sun dies.
‘But the beauty of our star’s passing will shine across the Universe.’