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Author Topic: Help me! : Is the sun our only source of energy???  (Read 4388 times)

Offline Brainstorm121

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So, because I'm a genius I challenged my physics teacher in class. He asked us; "Where does energy come from?" I said that I thought energy could come from a variety of sources. Energy is not limited to one form, therefore it makes little sense to me that all energy could come from one source. He told us all energy originally comes from the sun. Is this factual? Please reply as quickly as possible... my reputation in physics class depends on it!(since I told him I thought he was wrong, I now need to write an essay about this :-\)
Thank you,
~K.j.


 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Help me! : Is the sun our only source of energy???
« Reply #1 on: 12/09/2013 05:26:28 »
Mostly....

Wind is generally caused by the sun.
Hydroelectric Energy is from the evaporation of water which then falls as rain, and powers turbines...  so from the sun.
Plants grow from solar energy, and supply us with our food and bioenergy.
The Oxygen we breathe was created by plants.
Fossil Fuels in a sense is the stored energy from the sun from long ago.

There are a few places it breaks down.
Geothermal energy is a combination of primordial energy, radioactive decay energy, and perhaps some gravitational friction (which you might attribute to the sun plus Earth's rotational energy).

The wind as mentioned would be solar energy, but it is also attributable to the spinning of the Earth (with respect to the sun). 

The majority of earth satellites have been launched eastward due to the rotational energy of the Earth.  Launching them westward would take much more energy.  Several deep space probes including the Voyager probes also used slingshot and planetary flyby maneuvers to increase their their energy.  Of course the planets are orbiting the sun, but their planetary kinetic energy isn't generally considered solar energy.

Nuclear energy may be considered a form of primordial energy, and is not solar energy (but existed as the sun and solar system formed).

Could you consider subterranean helium as a form of potential energy due to it's lifting capabilities?  It is also formed from nuclear decay.

Oh, and don't forget the TIDES.
which are mostly caused by the MOON, and not the Sun.
« Last Edit: 12/09/2013 05:28:54 by CliffordK »
 

Offline RD

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Re: Help me! : Is the sun our only source of energy???
« Reply #2 on: 12/09/2013 07:10:49 »
Hydrothermal vents at the bottom of oceans are a sun-free zone, but contain life ...

Quote
... the areas around submarine hydrothermal vents are biologically more productive, often hosting complex communities fueled by the chemicals dissolved in the vent fluids. Chemosynthetic* bacteria and archaea form the base of the food chain, supporting diverse organisms, including giant tube worms, clams, limpets and shrimp. Active hydrothermal vents are believed to exist on Jupiter's moon Europa ...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrothermal_vent

http://www.google.com/search?q=theory+that+life+began+at+hydrothermal+vents

[* cf photosynthetic ]
« Last Edit: 12/09/2013 07:25:03 by RD »
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Help me! : Is the sun our only source of energy???
« Reply #3 on: 12/09/2013 09:15:58 »
Nuclear fission requires heavy elements like uranium, which probably did not originate in the sun. It accounts for up to 40% of our electrical power in some countries, and is one of the sources of subterranean heat: not a "useful" source but without it, we'd need a lot more solar energy to keep the planet warm.

You would have to make a very clever argument to convince Icelanders that their abundant geothermal energy had anything to do with the sun. The movement of tectonic plates is a consequence of the internal heat of the earth's core.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Help me! : Is the sun our only source of energy???
« Reply #4 on: 12/09/2013 09:27:37 »
The movement of tectonic plates is a consequence of the internal heat of the earth's core.
The movement of the tectonic plates would be facilitated by the warm core, but the movement would be caused by the sun and the moon's gravitational pull.  Perhaps more the moon's gravity than the sun's gravity.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Help me! : Is the sun our only source of energy???
« Reply #5 on: 12/09/2013 10:11:59 »
Not sure I follow that. Whilst the moon can certainly move water, the integrated pull vector over a day is zero, so anything with significant viscosity (and I think we can agree that the movement of tectonic plates is subject to a lot of viscous drag) won't move. Or at least if it did, all tectonic movement would be from east to west, which it ain't.

Have I missed a trick somewhere?
 

Offline RD

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Re: Help me! : Is the sun our only source of energy???
« Reply #6 on: 12/09/2013 17:27:57 »
Nuclear fission requires heavy elements like uranium, which probably did not originate in the sun.

Originating in someone else's sun ...
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The elements formed in supernovas include the heaviest elements known, such as the long-lived primordial element radionuclides uranium and thorium.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nucleosynthesis
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Help me! : Is the sun our only source of energy???
« Reply #7 on: 12/09/2013 21:13:21 »
Well at least originating in an event that might result in the creation of a sun-like star somewhere, but our sun contains very little uranium (about 10-10) compared with the earth, so it's reasonable to presume that ours didn't come from our sun.
 

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Re: Help me! : Is the sun our only source of energy???
« Reply #7 on: 12/09/2013 21:13:21 »

 

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