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About 6 billion years from now, the light from the dying Sun will burn the asteroid belt

New research shows that the light from a dying star is so strong it can turn asteroids into dust. This is what happens to almost every existing star in the Universe, including our dear Sun. Approximately 5-6 billion years from now, when the central star of the Solar System dies, it will burn the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

The only agent of mass destruction is electromagnetic radiation. According to the experimental model, the YORP effect (Yarkovsky-O’Keefe-Radzievskii-Paddack, derived from the names of the four scientists who contributed to its discovery) will be what plays a major role in the process. The YORP effect occurs when the heat of a star changes the rotation of a small object in the Solar System – such as an asteroid.

About 6 billion years from now the light from the dying Sun will burn the asteroid belt | Explore

The light emitted from the “B” fins is about the same size as the “A” fins, but not parallel to the incident light. This creates a torque on the asteroid.

Asteroids will be heated by the light energy emitted by the Sun. Heat propagates in the rock until it radiates in different directions as heat radiation.

The heat generated from the meteorite will create a small thrust; The thrust effect will not be noticeable in a short amount of time but if the heat generation is continuous, it can cause an asteroid to spin in the air or shake off from the inherent axis of movement. Today, through the phenomenon of “rolling asteroids” we can observe this process. And as the Sun progresses into subsequent evolutionary cycles, the effect will become even more pronounced.

When the stars or the Sun are at the end of an evolutionary sequence, they enter a giant phase and expand, becoming very large and bright. That phase only lasted a few million years, after which it pushed its outer matter into space and collapsed into white dwarfs – a dead star with a dense density of matter.

About 5-6 billion years, if not migrated to other places, humanity will see this phenomenon firsthand.

About 6 billion years from now the light from the dying Sun will burn the asteroid belt | Explore

The sun becomes a red giant.

When a typical star reaches its giant phase, its brightness reaches a maximum of 1,000 to 10,000 times the brightness of our Sun.“Explains astrophysicist Dimitri Veras of the University of Warwick.

Then, the star shrinks to a white dwarf similar in size to the Earth very quickly, where its brightness drops below the Sun’s level. Therefore, the YORP effect is important only in the giant phase, but almost nonexistent after the star becomes a white dwarf.. ”

As the initial brightness increases, the YORP effect will also increase. Because asteroids originate from just countless pieces of rock gathered by gravity, most asteroids do not have dense material densities, so when subjected to the YORP effect, they will start to become more lax.

According to the model running on the computer, the YORP effect will cause most asteroids larger than 200 meters to start rotating, enough to cause them to disintegrate. Stable structures will be safe, but the asteroid belt we still know will face the future, though bright but not very bright.

The YORP effect is intense and rapid, will last for a million years. Our asteroid belt will not only be destroyed, but it will be quickly and brutally destroyed. The only factor that causes this is light from the Sun itself“, says Veras researcher.

It is not just computer simulations that show evidence of this. Veras’ observations of white dwarfs also show this.

More than a quarter of white dwarfs have metal traces from the asteroid’s core in their spectrum. Asteroids’ traces in the white dwarf spectrum are a mystery, and are still under debate. The YORP effect may be the reason for this strange thing. When the asteroids crumble under the power of the light of a dying star, they form a disk of meteorite orbiting, the rest will be attracted to the white dwarf star.

About 6 billion years from now the light from the dying Sun will burn the asteroid belt | Explore

A white dwarf star.

These results help locate debris in the ‘white dwarf system’ and the giant branch, thereby observing how white dwarfs get debris from outer space.“Veras concluded.

We need to know why debris appeared at the time the star became a white dwarf to understand how dust disks are formed. Therefore, the YORP effect will provide an important model to identify the source of those debris“.

The research has been published in Monthly notice of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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