The Presidential Daily Brief

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    Our Sun Won’t Die Without a Show

    Better to burn out than to fade away. Astronomers previously calculated that the brightest planetary nebulae, the luminous leftovers after a star disperses its surrounding gases, were reserved for stars with relatively large mass. But that contradicted observations of low-mass stars emitting their own bright and beautiful swan songs. Now, a new model explains how smaller stars, like our sun, could heat up three times faster than previously estimated as they die — enough to produce a glowing nebula when the sun ultimately sets billions of years from now.

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