An interesting article from www.newscientist.com
on what will happen to earth and solar system in due course.
I am tempted to relate the available information from science
to what Hindu Thought says about this.
As we know Hinduism offers vast information how creation, sustenance and dissolution
and even about parallel universes and aliens,
let me bring out the salient features as and when required.
The prediction by the scientific community at their current level of understanding is that
the solar system will come to an end in 5 billion years' time.
This is true as per Hindu Thought.
This period marks the end of one Kalpa / a day of Brahma.
(details can be read by browsing this blog for my previous posts on yugas).
Another information given by scientists is that
the end of solar system may be hastened by a probable collision of earth
with mercury which will be deviating from its orbit.
Here Hinduism gives a much detailed report.
According to it, manvanthras change every 30 crore years.
Each manvanthra will have a specific set of humans with specific capabilities and features.
As such the present manvanthra has completed
only less than half of this total period of 30 crores of years.
After this 30 crore year mark,
the change happens due to the disturbance in the solar system,
with an unseen binary of the sun (Chaya), making a pass-by.
The scientists do agree theoretically of a possibility of a binary to our sun.
It is better they work on locating this binary which is likely to be a dark companion.
At present they believe that Barnard's star will come close to the sun,
much closer than Proxima Centauri (Thrishanku in Hindu parlance),
in about 10,000 years.
But the catastrophe is predicted after 18 crores of years from now onwards according to sastras.
But Branard's close shave with the solar system coincides
with the end of the current yuga cycle at human scales,
which marks the completion of one round of precession of the sun around the zodiac.
(refer my previous posts on yuga).
This will happen around 12,738 AD.
As per Hindu Thought,
there will be inactivity or low key activity
for the next 10,000 years after that (after 12,738 AD).
Human activity will spring up again after that (25,ooo AD)
and people will be thinking that life started only then
and start talking about stone age from that time onwards:-)
Coming to the article in New scientist,
the end to the present system of solar family will come after 5 billion years.
But according to Hindu Thought,
even before a planet like Mercury or Mars hits earth,
earth will lose life due to extreme conditions of heat followed by extreme rise in oceans.
When the solar system ends, earth will once again go under water!
In the new alignment, there will be absolutely no scope for human activity
for the next 15 billion years (night kalpa of Brahma)
Thereafter, creation will spring as anew and solar system will be born
at some part of this Universe.
Because this Universe will continue to be bulging in space for another
10 to the power of 17 times solar years.
For immediate consumption for those interested ones in science,
here are some clues about planets.
Contrary to what many scientists think that a Mars-sized object bashed into Earth
It was formed by the collision of Jupiter and moon.
There is a probability that moon lost considerable parts of itself to mercury.
Another information from sastras is that
Jupiter too was alien to the solar system.
it was once part of the star Pushya or Poosam
which is at present at the outer arm of our galaxy.
Jupiter is a break-away from that star
and was captured by the Sun.
(Related article :-
The answer, of course, is unknown,
but two new studies suggest a collision with Mercury or Mars
The studies suggest that the solar system's planets will continue to orbit the Sun stably
for at least 40 million years.
But after that, they show there is a small but not insignificant chance
that things could go terribly awry.
On human timescales,
the solar system seems to move as regularly as clockwork.
But Isaac Newton realised three centuries ago
that the gravitational tugs the planets exert on each other can potentially nudge them
out of their orbits over time.
Predicting what will happen is extremely challenging
because so many bodies are involved.
Even small errors in the observed positions of the planets today can translate
into huge uncertainties in projections of the future.
Because of this, astronomers can only say for sure that the solar system will remain stable
for the next 40 million years.
Although no one can say for sure what will happen beyond that,
new calculations are now providing a rough guide to the more distant future.
These suggest that there is a 1 to 2% chance that Mercury's orbit will get seriously
out of whack within the next 5 billion years.
This would tend to destabilize the whole inner solar system
and could lead to a catastrophic collision between Earth and either Mercury or Mars,
wiping out any life still present at that time.
In the case of a smash-up with Mars, for example,
"all life gets extinguished immediately, and Earth glows
Jacques Laskar of the Observatoire de Paris in
He ran 1001 computer simulations of the solar system over time,
each with slightly different starting conditions for the planets based on
the range of uncertainties in the observations.
In 1 to 2% of the cases,
Mercury's orbit became very elongated over time
due to gravitational tugs by Jupiter.
In these cases, its orbit reached an "eccentricity" of 0.6 or more
(an eccentricity of 0 means the orbit is a perfect circle,
while 1 is the maximum possible elongation).
Putting Mercury into such an elongated orbit increases the interactions between Mercury,
Venus, Mars and Earth. Previous simulations by Laskar have suggested
this can throw the whole solar system into disarray,
a scenario confirmed in simulations by Laughlin and Konstantin Batygin, also of UCSC.
'All bets are off'
"Once Mercury's eccentricity gets up above about 0.6,
then it's getting close to crossing Venus's orbit,"
Laughlin told New Scientist.
"Once you get orbit crossings, you sort of transition from the orderly
yet chaotic configuration that the solar system is in currently
to a much more violently chaotic situation.
Then all bets are off – a lot of bad things can happen."
Mercury and Mars tend to get thrown around the most when the solar system destabilises,
because at 6 and 11% of Earth's mass,
respectively, they are relatively easy to move. It is harder to budge Venus,
on the other hand, because it has 82% of Earth's mass.
In one of Batygin and Laughlin's simulations,
Mercury was thrown into the Sun 1.3 billion years from now.
In another, Mars was flung out of the solar system after 820 million years,
then 40 million years later Mercury and Venus collided.
These were the disasters that happened to occur in the limited number of simulations
that Batygin and Laughlin carried out.
But Laughlin says there are many other ways for the solar system to unravel.
"You open yourself up to a huge number of possible disasters that can occur,"
he told New Scientist.
"In each case, the gory details are completely different."
Direst for Earth is the possibility of a collision with a wayward Mercury or Mars.
A fair bit is known about what Mars could do to Earth.
Earth was heated to thousands of degrees by the impact,
with an ocean of lava covering its surface.
A future replay of that event would be disastrous, Laughlin says.
But there is a 98 to 99% chance that the solar system will still be running
like clockwork 5 billion years from now.
Says Laughlin: "The glass is 98% full or 2% empty."
Journal references: Laskar, Icarus (in press); Batygin & Laughlin, Astrophysical Journal (in press)