No life will survive the death of the sun — but new life could be born after, new research suggests
As Earth sails through the solar system, the wind is never at our backs; at every turn, torrents of hot, charged particles called solar wind come streaming out of the sun, crashing into our planet at about 1 million mph (1.6 million km/h).
Lucky for us, Earth's magnetic shield deflects and dismantles the harshest of these winds, allowing little more than a warm breeze to penetrate the planet's atmosphere. For our troubles, we even get to see a colorful light show — the auroras borealis and australis, which shimmer in the sky as runaway solar particles dance toward Earth's magnetic poles.
It's a good situation, for now. But new research suggests that our planet's magnetic shield may not always be so strong — and solar wind will only get more and more powerful as our local star approaches its ultimate demise.
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In a study published July 21 in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, a team of astronomers calculated how the intensity of the sun's solar wind will evolve over the …
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