# The Naked Scientists Forum

### Author Topic: ...that the sun generates about as much energy as a compost heap.  (Read 4584 times)

#### JMLCarter

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 143
##### ...that the sun generates about as much energy as a compost heap.
« on: 11/04/2011 18:46:23 »
"Peak power production in the Sun has been compared to the volumetric heats generated in an active compost heap"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun

#### JP

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 3366
• Thanked: 2 times
##### ...that the sun generates about as much energy as a compost heap.
« Reply #1 on: 12/04/2011 03:34:00 »
Well I say that peak power production in the sun is like a dinosaur.

Quick, we can add to wikipedia "peak power production in the sun has also been compared to a dinosaur."  It will be true!  We can even add a citation, which that previous factoid doesn't have!  :)

But in all seriousness, the sun is huge, so the energy per unit volume they quote doesn't seem that unreasonable. It's all about surface area to volume ratios, a ratio which scales like the 1/(radius of the sun).  The radius of the sun is huge, which means that a small amount of energy produced per unit volume of the sun leads to an immense amount of power radiated per unit area.  If you plug in the numbers on that wiki article, I think you get on the order of 10 watts/m3 generated in the sun's core, but 50,000 watts/m2 coming out of the sun's surface.  Therefore a peak power of ~200 watts/m3 doesn't seem so out of line...
« Last Edit: 12/04/2011 04:34:56 by JP »

#### JMLCarter

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 143
##### ...that the sun generates about as much energy as a compost heap.
« Reply #2 on: 14/04/2011 22:46:34 »
Merits of wikipedia are worthy of more careful debate. Plenty of problems with peer review.

I thought this forum was for established facts that are hard to believe - just for fun. I wasn't looking for an explanation.
« Last Edit: 14/04/2011 22:48:27 by JMLCarter »

#### spook1456

• Jr. Member
• Posts: 20
• we all like science do we not?
##### ...that the sun generates about as much energy as a compost heap.
« Reply #3 on: 17/04/2011 06:28:44 »
well it should be correct but only if the compost heap is large enough . i heard that i gram of matter completely converted into energy will give you a blast about the size of one created by a 20 kiloton nuke

#### spook1456

• Jr. Member
• Posts: 20
• we all like science do we not?
##### ...that the sun generates about as much energy as a compost heap.
« Reply #4 on: 17/04/2011 06:29:29 »
that much energy in a 400 kg compost heap could have powered the sun for a year

#### The Naked Scientists Forum

##### ...that the sun generates about as much energy as a compost heap.
« Reply #4 on: 17/04/2011 06:29:29 »