When our Sun dies it will take the Solar System's asteroid belt with it.
A new study suggests that when a star's life ends, its luminosity increases ten-thousand-fold - which is strong enough to obliterate the asteroid belt into small dust particles.
Researchers believe this event will occur 'quickly and violently' with all but the most distant asteroids in a system being disintegrated in just one million years.
However, the team concludes that our sun will not reach its end for at least another six billion years.
The new study was conducted by a team at the University of Warwick, which analyzed 'the number of successive break-up events and how quickly this cascade occurs.'
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When our Sun dies it will take the Solar System's asteroid belt with it. A new study suggests that when a star's life ends, its luminosity increases ten-thousand-fold - which is strong enough to obliterate the asteroid belt into small dust particles
When a star burns all of its hydrogen fuel, it becomes hundreds of times larger during a 'giant branch' phase and increase its luminosity ten-thousand-fold - giving out intense electromagnetic radiation.
The star will then shed its outer layers once the expansion stops, leaving behind a dense core, or a white dwarf.
The radiation given off from the dying star is absorbed by orbiting asteroids, redistributed internally and then emitted from a different location, creating an imbalance.
This imbalance creates a torque effect that very gradually spins up the asteroid, eventually to break-up speed at one full rotation every 2 hours -the Earth takes almost 24 hours to complete a full rotation.
This effect is known as the YORP effect, named after four scientists (Yarkovsky, O'Keefe, Radzievskii, Paddack) who contributed ideas to the concept.
And eventually the torque will become so violent that it will pull the asteroids apart into smaller pieces.
This process will continue several times until there is nothing left but cosmic dust.