04th of February 2009 by Stephen Battersby
We live in uninteresting times. Since the ructions that created the planets in the solar system's first 100 million years (see "How was the solar system built?") - and apart from an early migration of the giant planets and the odd colliding comet not swept safely aside by Jupiter - nothing much has really been happening. The planets circle like clockwork, the sun burns steadily, and even delicate life has survived on at least one world.
It cannot last. Something unpleasant is bound to shatter this comfortable calm.
Our sun will die, of course, about six billion years from now. But things could get ugly long before that. The steady gyrations of the solar system today may conceal the seeds of chaos. Even the tiniest of irregularities can build up over time, gradually altering the paths of the planets. Between now and final sundown, it
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