Sometimes I just get amused at news stories. The one in the New York Times was obviously written by a journalist who doesn’t understand the words he’s using. The article, Earth Might Survive Sunâ€™s Explosion, begins –
What happens to planets when their stars age and die?
Thatâ€™s not an academic question. About five billion years from now, astronomers say, the Sun will run out of hydrogen fuel and swell temporarily more than 100 times in diameter into a so-called red giant, swallowing Mercury and Venus and dooming life on Earth, but perhaps not Earth itself.
It’s not an academic question? It’s not scholarly, hypothetical, speculative, or conjectural? Shall I take decisive, immediate action? And if so, what? Is there something I can do to prevent it? Some sort of legislative maneuver, or a particular brand of sun block?
Actually, I’m trying to figure out if I care. If the sun swells and burns up all life on earth, there’s a good chance I’ll be dead. I’m still a young man, a spritely 46, but I’m not sure I’ll make it to 5,000,000,046 years old. And if I’m dead and burned to a crisp, should I care if the Earth survives as a glowing hunk of rock?
This is not an academic question, after all. I think I should run in circles and panic. If not now, then at least by the time I turn 4 billion.