TECH

The Sun Will Boil Earth's Oceans In A Billion Years, Not 150 Million Years

13/12/2013 10:51 GMT | Updated 13/12/2013 10:51 GMT
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birds and the sea on red sunset'...

Although it turns out the universe itself might collapse at any moment, life here on Earth might at least continue for a bit longer until it does.

New research suggests that the Sun will not boil away Earth's oceans quite as soon as we had previously suspected.

Either way it's a bit immaterial - one way or another we'll already be long gone by then.

But for any super-evolved dolphins or octopi left in water it will likely come as good news.

It had previously been feared that the expansion of the Sun as it starts to run out of hydrogen fuel would lead to 'runaway' global warming as soon as 150 million years from now.

But new research says that the so-called 'Goldilocks Zone' in which liquid water can exist on a planet orbiting a star is slightly larger than previously thought - meaning our oceans and lakes might still have a fighting chance in about a billion years.

The new report in Nature says that the Goldilocks Zone is about 95% of the distance from our planet to the Sun, rather than 99%.

Jeremy Leconte from the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics of the University of Toronto said that "from the perspective of the Earth, this is a big change, and it's because the Earth is thought to be quite close to the inner edge".

"We now find that it's not that close," he told Space.com. It's still very close into the habitable zone compared to what could be other planets we see out there."

The research could also help scientists search for planets around other stars in which liquid water, and potentially even life, could exist.

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