Physics KS3 / GCSE: Death of the Sun and stars

Professor Brian Cox explains the process that causes all stars, including eventually our own sun, to die.

Stars are only able to survive as long as they have a supply of hydrogen to burn.

Our star, the Sun, will run out of fuel in about a billion years.

At this point, the Sun will become a red giant, as the core collapses and the outer layers expand.

This will cause the Earth to become super-heated, destroying any remaining life.

After about six billion years, this red giant will explode to form a massive nebula with a dim white dwarf at its core.

This fate is the same for all stars in the cosmos. We see spectacular graphics to represent the process.

This clip is from the series Wonders of the Universe.

Teacher Notes

Assuming students are familiar with the order of the planets in the Solar System, they could be asked to predict what will happen to the other planets at the various points described in this clip.

This will become an interesting discussion because it will need to take account of the current temperature and composition of each planet, as well as its distance from the Sun.

Curriculum Notes

These clips will be relevant for teaching Physics at KS3, GCSE/KS4 and National 4/5 and Higher.

The topics discussed will support OCR, Edexcel, AQA,WJEC GCSE in GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 and Higher in Scotland.