back to article Sun will swallow Earth: Official

Two scientists from the University of Sussex and Mexico's University of Guanajuato appear to have confirmed that if we're still around in 7.6 billion years, global warming will be the least of our worries, since our beloved Mother Earth will be drawn inexorably towards the Sun and snuffed from existence. Sussex Uni's Robert …


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  1. Vulpes Vulpes

    Now That's

    What I Call Global Warming.

  2. William Bronze badge

    I had better get a move on.

    My patio is still only half finished, and at this rate there seems no point in finishing it if the sun is atomise it.

  3. Scott

    Moving house

    So presumably, we can all hop over to Mars, as it should then be a lot warmer and quite relaxing :)

  4. Alex

    But then why....

    ...does the bulging from the tides between the Earth and the Moon end up with the Moon moving farther out?

  5. captain kangaroo
    Thumb Down

    The Current Bun

    I got about 1/3 through that article and had to check the header to se weather I'd accidentally clicked on that red top nightmare's website by the same name as our mother star.

    Generally I do like the style of theregister over it's crap rival /. and the over stiff But sometime, just sometimes, I think you go to far...

    Anyway, at least in the light of Bellfields prosecution you didn't announce that this week is BLONDES WEEK...

    Please avoid becoming too much like the current bun...

  6. Mike


    What!!! Oh my God! Oh, wait a minute, I thought you said 7.6 million years. Whew!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very good

    But please tell me what is the point of researching this? Surely there are more pressing projects that these jokers could be expending their energies on.

    "It's a pretty gloomy forecast" For who exactly?

    Does it really matter to anyone reading this what happens in 5 or 7 billion years time. I hope they didn't get grants or paid for this and why is it in Science and not Bootnotes where it belongs.

    Information for Informations sake is UTTERLY worthless.

  8. Nick Askew

    Looking forward to

    The planet being enveloped by the sun as it grows.

    The moon wandering away from us causing the earth to wobble on it's axis.

    Huge lumps of rock hitting us from space.

    Global warming causing floods.

    Ice ages causing the water to retreat.

    A massive volcano erupting and filling the sky with ash, smoke, and noxious gasses.

    Tidal waves wiping out coastal communities.

    and now we have to contend with the planet doing a nose dive into the Sun!!! Great.

  9. Craig Graham

    Spaceship Earth

    By that point, if we're still around, I'd guess we'll have the ability to slowly increase and decrease the orbital speed of the Earth, hence controlling the distance from the sun and letting us regulate the temperature both in the initial stages and as the sun cools and dies.

  10. Graham Dawson Silver badge


    Part of the point of researching this is to see if we can then spot it happening to other stars "now" (or then, as it were) which then allows us to start working out other stuff. What that other stuff might be is anyone's guess, but something will come of it sooner or later. I mean, lets face it, back when Newton finalised the theory of gravity it was great... in principle, but what practical application was there for knowing how fast something would accelerate toward the earth? At that point, very little. It was information for information's sake. Now it's an absolute necessity in physics. Or if you want to be more abstract, why bother finding out that the earth moves around the sun? There was no particular reason for knowing it; seasons were already predictable, the sun rose and set like it always did, so why spend the effort when it doesn't actually make any difference?

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Oh FFS

    Have these people got nothing better to do with their time, like helping find a cure for a disease... oh wait, we're all going to die anyway, why bother... ffs.

    /Grumpy Old Man.

  12. RainForestGuppy

    Send in the Cavalry

    I'm sure George and the good old boys in the Pentagon will come up the as solution.

    Operation Solar Storm, to defend the free people's of the world from the threat of solar terrorism.

    My Coat, The one with the UVA filter built in.

  13. Hans Mustermann

    Yes and no

    "Information for Informations sake is UTTERLY worthless."

    Well, no, curiosity is still a valuable trait.

    And often something good comes out of such studying things that aren't immediately of practical importance. E.g., we only have modern mechanics at all because someone worried about such esoteric and useless (at that moment) as what rotates around what in the sky, whether the sky can change over time (it was previously thought that other than the planets, everything else is basically a texture rotating around Earth), or where does a cannonball fall after all if you drop it from the mast of a moving ship. I mean, from a pragmatic point of view, why would you want to? But it all furthered our undestanding of how things work, and had practical applications much later. Plus, as an even nicer side-effect, it brought down the edifice of Aristotelian "science" based on nothing more than thinking about how things should work in a nicely designed universe, and replaced it with the proper scientific method.

    Is this calculation equally important? Maybe, maybe not. Who knows, we might eventually find out that some practical observation contradicts such a calculated result, and end up with some better science as a result. And in turn, if we ever start having interstellar travel, we might actually have a use for better understanding the forces and phenomena at those scales.

    It's useless to worry about it, but that's an entirely different thing.

    That said, I do find it funny that some people do worry about what will happen in 5 billion years, or indeed 100 billion years. There was for example this thread long ago on Slashdot about how in 100 billion years other galaxies will be too far away to be observed, and people were genuinely worrying about how to pass that piece of information to the people living 100 billion years in the future. 'Cause, you know, otherwise they might end up with a theocracy or something.

  14. Keith Crooks

    "...completely impossible for life of any kind to exist."

    "After a billion years or so you've got an Earth with no atmosphere, no water and a surface temperature of hundreds of degrees, way above the boiling point of water. The Earth will become dry basically. It will become completely impossible for life of any kind to exist. It's a pretty gloomy forecast."

    Don't want to get too picky, but should he not have instead said, "It will become impossible for life as we know it to exist."?

    How do we know that there isn't some life form out there that we don't know about that thrives in that kind of environment.

    The truth is out there ...

  15. Sweep

    @ Alex

    Could be wrong, but i reckon it's because the earth is relatively tiny compared to the sun. In the earth- moon system, the tidal bulge the moon creates on the near-side of the earth travels slightly ahead of the moon because of the rotation of the earth, so it drags the moon forward, this increase in forward energy is why the moon gets more distant every year. I doubt that the gravity of the earth would create tidal bulges on the sun in the same way. again, could be wrong though =)

  16. Anonymous Coward

    What really matters is...

    We all know that the earth will survive the sun getting all big and bothered because we've seen it in Doctor Who; and when the super-duper magnetic things that stop the earth being swallowed up get turned off, there'll be a bunch of blue people watching it from a special observational hotel in space.

    At least when it does go off, nobody'll mind that they spent money on a HD-DVD player.

    Anyway, why can't the scientists spend more time on the things that affect us here and now, like itchy nipples?

  17. Alan Jenney

    Well, they just acquired MySQL, so...

    ... I guess Sun will take over the entire earth at some point in the future, but achieving that in 7 million years is not the sort of business plan that's attractive to your average investor.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Errrr .. and why this will effect Homo sapiens ?

    Average lifespan of a mammalian species ~3 million years.

    Contrary to what most of the geeks on here will "understand" most species die out NOT in cataclysmic events, but just cos they get out evolved.

    This is an interesting piece of science, but to tie it somehow to Homo sapiens "fate" is (stupidity x sensationalism)^2 in other words the Daily Mail reporting index.

    P.S. That does not make this sort of science "worthless", the spirit of scientific inquiry often will lead us to many dead ends and "useless" facts. But that does not mean that we should decide to give bat and ball back and not play anymore.

  19. Nano nano

    I wouldn't worry ...

    A little later (10^12 years, or a _proper_billion_ years hence), there won't be much of the rest of the universe left that we can see

    since space will have expanded non-gravitationally-bound galaxies outside of the region of space that we can see ...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Also looking forward to the...

    ...the Hollywood movie staring Bruce Willis / Sly Stallone / Arnie / ...

  21. adnim

    I can't wait

    No seriously I can't wait, not for 7.6 billion years. I guess I'm gonna miss the most spectacular light show the earth has ever witnessed. Unless one counts a Pink Floyd concert... "set the controls for the heart of the sun".

  22. Rob

    darn... plan was to get on the housing ladder in 7.7billion years time. Is there no hope!

  23. Mark Johnson

    This may not be big news to us...

    ...but this is a question of life and death for vampires!

  24. Chad H.

    @ amanfrommars

    Hi, On behalf of Reg Readers everywhere... I was just wondering if there was any room on your couch, as soon (on the cosmic scale) we're all going to be homeless...

  25. Dunstan Vavasour

    Margin of error

    Can't be bothered to read the original article - did it indicate a possible margin of error on these figures? I suppose it doesn't matter, coz even if they're out by three orders of magnitude, we'll have hitched a ride with the Vogons by then.

  26. Mark

    To the curmogeon ACs

    You will die. We all will. What we do is in the big enough picture irrelevant and a waste of time.

    This research is as useful as study for priesthood, venture capitalist or basketweaver.

    We are, however, curious about life and what may happen.

    A priest wants to know better how God intends him to live his life.

    A VC is interested in knowing how much money they can scam ( :-) )

    A basketweaver is proud of displaying his expertise in a dying art.

  27. bothwell
    Paris Hilton


    "Have these people got nothing better to do with their time, like helping find a cure for a disease..."

    I eagerly await the cure for cancer you are obviously working tirelessly on.

    Paris, because her competency describes her industry, just like the rest of us.

  28. Robert Harrison

    Well according to Red Dwarf

    When Lister returns to Earth some 300 million years since leaving it he finds the human race much as he left it, although they're all a little bit shorter.

    But seriously, with the current state of humanity do we have even a millenium left?

    Have a nice day.


  29. Rob Dunford

    land for sale on Titan

    I have a few trances of land left remaining on the Saturn's moon 'Titan'. It's a bit chilly at the moment, but should warm up in time for the exodus from Earth. All enquiries to PO BOX 99, London W1.

  30. Greg Pedder

    A fate worse than a fate worse than death...


    But I thought I'd read somewhere that we're supposed to be on course for a cosmic collision with the Andromeda galaxy, which is supposed to happen *before* the sun kicks out its last fateful photon?

  31. Anonymous Coward


    As it is 15 degrees below zero where I am, the sooner the better I say.

    The flame icon because I'll doing anything for a bit of warmth.

  32. captain kangaroo

    That's a shame...

    ... virginmedia will only just have cleared it's amassed debt by then, and I'll miss out on my payrise.

  33. Tom

    7.7 billion years... fine, provided that is acurate - other wise the mice will be furious.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And this is why....

    I think Global Warming is not only a load of garbage....but is a total waste of time worrying about.

    There's bigger fish to fry.... <pardon the pun>

  35. Henry Cobb

    We can move the Earth now

    And it probably costs less than the greenhouse cap and trade systems...

    But with existing technology, some advance planning and a little orbital energy, courtesy of a redirected asteroid, Earth's distance from the Sun could be increased by 50 percent in just a few billion years.

  36. Luther Blissett

    Gaia hypothesis proven correct

    because Mother Earth is indeed slowly suiciding itself in the simplest way it can, by doing the Death Spiral dance into the Sun, having finally got well and truly fed up with the inability of its most evolved species to distingish fantasy from "information".

    The rest of the article is about how to be a jobsworth.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    a bit of pedantry

    > The Earth actually exerts its own (modest) gravitational pull on the Sun

    The gravitational pull the Earth exerts on the Sun is exactly the same (except in the opposite direction) as that the Sun exerts on the Earth. It's just that the Sun is so much more massive than the Earth (F=m.a and all that).


  38. Pyros


    Please remind the human race about this in the next, oh, 50 years, please?

    That is, if there's any of us left after the Matrioshka Brain finally consumes the last of Venus for more mass.

    Mine's the one with the embedded processors and solid-state media in it, thanks.

  39. Charlie van Becelaere
    Paris Hilton

    Let me be the first

    to welcome our coming photospheric overlords.

    PH because.

  40. Bill Smith

    That long

    7 billion years eh? so about as long as an episode of Hollywanks then

  41. Nano nano

    Sun's last photon

    @Greg Pedder - read the SciAm article linked in my previous post.

  42. J

    Grunt... grunt...

    "Information for Informations sake is UTTERLY worthless."

    Me stay in cave, grunt. Stupid worthless monkeys, humpf, out rub sticks, hit stones, grunt. Useless, worthless waste time, grunt, me stay in cave picking lice, grr. Might write VB code if bored, humpf.

  43. Anthony

    But will we have time...

    ...To figure out how to reverse the death of the sun?

  44. Tim Brown

    The World...

    ...already ended. You're just in denial.

  45. brainwrong


    They seem to have forgotten that the sun rotates. The (rather small) bulge that the earth induces in the sun will rotate ahead of the earth, causing it to accelerate the earth a bit. This is exactly the same as the earth-moon system, as Alex has noted. This may still be more than cancelled out by other factors.

    Ultimately, the n-body problem for n>2 is chaotic, so it's a bit of a pointless prediction to make.

  46. Jon Tocker

    Thank the gods and goddesses!

    I can put off packing for a few billion years at least.

    I bloody HATE moving.

    Rob, when can you organise to show me 'round some of your Titanian properties - just because I can afford to put off the tidying and packing doesn't mean I intend to miss out on the best sites...

  47. R Callan

    Sun broken windows

    I thought this was going to be about us having to use Solaris. Oh well, I'll stick to Linux

  48. John Angelico

    What - wrong article?

    Trying again!

    And I thought it would be something about a carve-up of Google...


  49. TeeCee Gold badge

    7.6 Billion years?

    Time for another bath then.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    This is....

    All fine and dandy but it's the next 100 years which are mankinds greatest theat for survial (Peak oil, fuel wars, sea level rises, etc).

    Paris Hilton because she thinks she's hotter than the sun.

  51. Ishkandar

    Oh, yeah...

    ...I remember discussing this very subject with Methuselah's grandpa some time back. He was getting worried that his grandson might be affected by this heatwave and that the kid always forgets his sun-block lotion !!

  52. Anonymous Coward

    Galactic pr0n???

    Smith explained to "Just as the Earth is ___pulling on the Sun's bulge___, it's pulling on the Earth, and that causes the Earth to slow in its orbit. It will spiral back and finally ___end up inside the Sun___."

  53. Dr. Mouse

    @AC RE: Galactic pr0n???


    We should carry on killing the earth then. It's a dirty *******, only one thing on it's mind. What if the sun doesnt want to be entered? Is that Solar Rape?

    However it is comfortin to know that even the earth knows that Fatties are the way to go, so it's going to wait untill the sun becomes a red giant (probably close to the size of the average american woman :P )

  54. Walter McCann


    So long and thanks for all the fish, I'm outta here......


  55. Anonymous Coward

    Cover up with...

    ...suncream SPF factor 9,000,000,000 then.

    No coat, I'm trying to get a tan.

  56. Damian Gabriel Moran

    I can see the headlines now

    "Phew what a Scorcher!"

    I myself will be sith lording it up in a galaxy far, far away by then, having studied the force at the jedi academy in Surrey, I fell to the darkside the day I was born

    swirly flowing robes, with the mittens on string through the sleeves

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