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Author Topic: What would happen if a rogue planet fell into the sun?  (Read 3402 times)

Offline thedoc

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Jane Maddin  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
I have a question regarding rogue planets and what would happen if one fell into the sun.

Would it have any impact on the Earth?

Would it make a difference if the planet was rocky and small like the Earth or a gas giant like Jupiter.

I am not, however, condoning an experiment on this scale, just wondering, that's all! :-)

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 04/05/2013 07:30:02 by _system »


 

Offline Pmb

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Re: What would happen if a rogue planet fell into the sun?
« Reply #1 on: 04/05/2013 08:44:44 »
Jane Maddin  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
I have a question regarding rogue planets and what would happen if one fell into the sun.

Would it have any impact on the Earth?

Would it make a difference if the planet was rocky and small like the Earth or a gas giant like Jupiter.

I am not, however, condoning an experiment on this scale, just wondering, that's all! :-)

What do you think?
There would be no notable changes on earth or the solar system. The planet would be vaporized as soon as it fell into the sun and the matter would simply become part of the sun. The mass of such a planet compared to the sun is like comparing a bee-bee to a bowling ball.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: What would happen if a rogue planet fell into the sun?
« Reply #2 on: 04/05/2013 19:36:25 »
Comets and asteroids hit the sun quite regularly, with little evidence remaining of their prior existence.

I wonder, however, if a small planet the size of Earth would cause a fairly large solar flare upon impact.

For a planet like Jupiter, a lot would depend on the angle of impact.  If it was in a decaying orbit, over a period of centuries, perhaps thousands or millions of years, the outer gases might get stripped from Jupiter, and the impact event would not be very traumatic. 

A direct impact between Jupiter and the sun likely would cause a large solar flare on that side of the sun which could certainly cause harm on Earth if it was in its path.  As the sun rotated, continuing small flare activity might still have wide effects even on planets that weren't directly in the path of the first flare.
 

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Re: What would happen if a rogue planet fell into the sun?
« Reply #2 on: 04/05/2013 19:36:25 »

 

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