A recent research conducted by the European Space Agency (ESA) has claimed that the Sun has reached its middle age, estimated at 4.57 billion years. The Sun also appears to be going through a midlife crisis, with frequent solar flares, Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), and solar storms, according to ESA study. It was carried out by analysing the recent data released by the space agency’s Gaia spacecraft, which helps in mapping the life journey of various stars in the universe.
The third major data release (DR3) from Gaia was made available on June 13. A database of the intrinsic attributes of hundreds of millions of stars was one of the primary things that came out of this release. These factors include their temperature, size, and mass.
Gaia makes very accurate measurements of a star’s apparent brightness and colour as seen from Earth. It takes a lot of effort to convert those fundamental observable qualities into intrinsic properties of a star, the release said.
The study shows that they can predict how our Sun will evolve in the future by properly identifying stars of comparable mass and chemistry.
Gaia makes very accurate measurements of a star’s apparent brightness and colour as seen from Earth.
“With an age of around 4.57 billion years, our Sun is currently in its comfortable middle age, fusing hydrogen into helium and generally being rather stable; staid even. That will not always be the case,” said the space agency release.
As the hydrogen fuel in its core depletes and changes in the fusion process occur, scientists predict it to develop into a red giant star, reducing its surface temperature in the process. This depends on how much mass a star has and its chemical composition.
Orlagh, a researcher, and his colleagues analysed the data for the most precise star measurements the spacecraft could provide. He said, “We wanted to have a really pure sample of stars with high precision measurements.”