In a few billion years, our dear Sun will look like this, a beautiful glowing eye of spent starstuff trash in the shape of Sauron's Eye. And no ring is going to save us from this one.

It's the Helix Nebula, NGC 7293, 700 light-years away from Earth. Once upon a time it was a star like ours. As it died, it expanded engulfing everything around it. The gas cloud was created at the end. At the center, the stellar core "glows in light so energetic it causes the previously expelled gas to fluoresce."


This picture was taken using "three colors on infrared light by the 4.1-meter Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) at the European Southern Observatory's Paranal Observatory in Chile." The gas knots that you can see on the inner edge are of "unknown origin."

Hopefully Humanity would have went to other star systems by then. If it can survive itself, that is. [APODThanks Mark!]

Illustration for article titled This Is How Our Sun Will Look When It Dies—Yes, the Eye of Sauron

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