The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: What if the Sun dies?  (Read 17262 times)

Offline valtia

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
What if the Sun dies?
« on: 23/03/2004 08:23:01 »
My roommate is currently working on a film about the sun dying (probably supernova) -and she's looking for some scientific facts.  What would happen to the Earth if the sun were to die out?  How much warning would we have?  How quickly would life die out on Earth?  Would there be any way to save ourselves?  Any info appreciated.  Thanks

Nikki


 

Offline chris

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 5339
  • Thanked: 65 times
  • The Naked Scientist
    • View Profile
    • The Naked Scientists
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #1 on: 23/03/2004 09:55:50 »
Hi Nikki

given that lights from the sun takes at least 8 minutes to reach the earth, you can guarantee that whatever happens you'll get at least 8 minutes notice !

But speaking realistically, the light that reaches the earth takes over a million years to escape from within the sun, so the light reaching us is already a million years old.

Furthermore the sun is already about 5 billion years old and has burned roughly half its available hydrogen (which is fuses to form helium). That means that there is at least another 4-5 billion years of life left in our sun yet.

The sun does undergo eruptive convulsions from time to time - and sun spots are a good example - but on the whole it is a pretty stable entity.

What is certain is that without it the earth would plunge into an ice age and top temperatures would be close to absolute zero !

for more information about the physics of the sun see this page put together by Prof. Brian Fulton from York University :

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/astrophysics

chris

"I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception"
 - Groucho Marx
 

Offline Krisa

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 12
    • View Profile
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #2 on: 23/03/2004 12:28:08 »
The Sun will "die" probably after more than 4-5 billion years, it'll be near 7 billion years. After this time it will become a red giant and the Earth will be fried. However the strong sun wings will push Earth on another orbit, somewhere between mars and jupiter. And than start a long way to darkness.
 

Offline gsmollin

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 749
    • View Profile
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #3 on: 23/03/2004 14:03:23 »
The standard life for a star of 1 solar mass, is about 8-9 billion years on the main sequence, which is where it is now (1/2 way), burning hydrogen into helium. After that, there is some variability in the result. It may depend on trace metals in the original composition, or just be very sensitive to exact mass, but it goes something like this: The outer layers expand to well beyond the orbit of earth, and the sun begins to lose mass. The core heats up as helium burning begins. There may be some nasty transients occuring during the transition from H to He burining that may result in the expulsion of a planetary nebula. Eventually the sun loses enough mass from its outer layers, and cools off. Nuclear fusion ceases, and the sun contacts, shedding gravitational binding energy, it gets hotter as it contracts, and becomes a white dwarf. Eventually it cools, and becomes a black dwarf.

We don't survive these events. But don't worry. We have plenty of near-term opportunities to destroy ourselves. Those are the ones that count.
 

Offline Predator_X

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 47
    • View Profile
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #4 on: 09/01/2005 13:51:35 »
True the Sun will become a red giant and would fry Earth. Earth might still orbit the size of the red giant later it will explode in a super nova or hyper nova which will kill evryting on earth.
 

Offline neilep

  • Withdrawnmist
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 20602
  • Thanked: 8 times
    • View Profile
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #5 on: 09/01/2005 17:21:04 »
You're all invited to my BBQ in about 5-7 Billion years....how does July 25th sound?

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
 

Offline ukmicky

  • Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3011
    • View Profile
    • http://www.space-talk.com/
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #6 on: 26/11/2006 17:04:56 »
You're all invited to my BBQ in about 5-7 Billion years....how does July 25th sound?

<font color="blue">'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'</font id="blue">
The forth of July , the day America finally gains independace from the sun.

Imagine the fireworks display.
 

Offline syhprum

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3820
  • Thanked: 19 times
    • View Profile
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #7 on: 26/11/2006 17:53:43 »
The loss of the Suns heat would be survivable there is plenty of heat coming up from the centre of the earth and we would not have to dig our living quarters very deep.
the loss of its gravity would be the biggest problem ,who knows where we would end up.
Scrub the supernova idea we would all be vapourised!
 

Offline Mjhavok

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 468
    • View Profile
    • http://cantmakeadifference.blogspot.com
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #8 on: 26/11/2006 17:54:16 »
Also all the planets would shoot off from their orbits
 

Offline Soul Surfer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3345
  • keep banging the rocks together
    • View Profile
    • ian kimber's web workspace
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #9 on: 27/11/2006 10:01:02 »
The proper scenario for the end of our sun is as follows

In around 4 - 5 billion years it will slowly swell to become a red giant about the size of the earth's orbit and fry the earth although a lot of the outer solar system should survive intact. It will mess around a bit at this size for a while and eventually "go asymptotic" and will slowly blow off its atmosphere into the outer solar system and become a planetary nebula(like the ring nebula in Lyra)for a while.  This will leave behind a white dwarf star  much smaller and giving  off enough light to be about as bright as the moon at the earth's orbit and everything will freeze.

I am not sure if the inner planets will survive the sun becoming a red giant but there is a fair chance they will not be slowed down too much by the atmospheric drag and will stay substantially where they are at the moment.

During the red giant phase Io and Titan will be warmed up a lot and could become habitable for a while but they will freeze again later however if the inner planets have lost a lot of energy they may be orbiting close enough to the white dwarf sun to be recolonised by life as theres a fair chance that comets will still bring suitable light elements and water too their surfaces over a few million years.

White dwarf stars last for absolute ages  almost as long as red dwarfs.

Definitely no violent explosions as far as the sun is concerned in its current configuration as a single star.
 

Offline Heliotrope

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 151
    • View Profile
    • http://www.davethedrummer.com
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #10 on: 28/11/2006 19:53:26 »
My roommate is currently working on a film about the sun dying (probably supernova) -and she's looking for some scientific facts.  What would happen to the Earth if the sun were to die out?  How much warning would we have?  How quickly would life die out on Earth?  Would there be any way to save ourselves?  Any info appreciated.  Thanks

Nikki

Assuming some cataclysmic intervention causes our rather small star to artificially supernova then probably the first thing we would notice is that there was a vast and intense neutrino pulse from the Sun.
This pulse would be generated by the core of the sun collapsing in the first instants of the supernova.
So your scientist sitting in the monitoring room of the neutrino telescope sipping a coffee whilst idly flicking through a Harrod's lingerie catalogue would be unlikely to notice the neutrino surge at first.
In the next couple of microseconds the core of the Sun would rebound from the solid mass of neutrons created at it's heart by the massive compression. This rebound is actually the explosion. The outrushing energy wave blows off almost the entire mass of the star.
Now that sounds like a pretty bad thing.
And it is.
Especially as our hero scientist is so engrossed that they haven't noticed what's coming yet.
So now the Sun starts to actually explode. All the inner parts of the Sun are rushing outward compressing everything in their path. All this releases energy. Really staggering amounts of energy. Lots more energy than your new plasma TV uses. Lots more energy than even your new Hummer uses.
The actual explosion part of the process only takes a few seconds and our hero is almost down to the bottom of their cup.
Let's step along for say half a minute.
Now the Sun is really exploding.
Big time. We're talking Hollywood-bags-of-petrol-hidden-in-the-car-so-it-blows-up-when-it-hits-the-kerb type explosions here.
Big badda boom.
And our hero has finally looked up at the data streaming into the supercomputer used to analyse the readings and alarm bells should hopefully start ringing in their head. Or preferably in the building.
Lets assume our hero instantly divines what has happened and realises that the Sun has just gone "pop".
What should they do ?
Well by this time they're only going to have about 8 minutes before the explosion hits and that's not very long at all.
What to do ?
Phone Mom ?
Go and "explain" things to the rather nice post-grad down the hall who has had their eye on you for the last week ?
Pour another coffee ?
Frankly it's not going to matter much as when the explosion front hits the planet it's going to strip away the atmosphere like you'd strip the wrapper from a KitKat.
Then in the next couple of milliseconds it's going to strip away the entire surface of the planet in a wave of insanely hot nuclear fire.
By this time of course the coffee has warmed up to the point that the cup is far too hot to hold as it's now a cloud of fully ionised gas. Along with the coffee.
Then the mass of the explosion hits and you really must put your sunglasses on before you go blind.
The planet basically dissolves in the next couple of milliseconds.
It turns into a screaming cloud of gas propelled out of the Solar System by the fatal thermonuclear explosion of the Sun.

All of the other planets would go the same way.
All of them.
Perhaps the very core of Jupiter might survive but what's left over would be very, very small when the Sun is done having it's little tantrum.

Supernovae are bad.
You don't want one going off in your back yard.
And by back yard I mean the nearest 250 light years or so.
They can ruin your whole day.
« Last Edit: 28/11/2006 19:57:52 by Heliotrope »
 

Offline neilep

  • Withdrawnmist
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 20602
  • Thanked: 8 times
    • View Profile
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #11 on: 28/11/2006 20:23:26 »
In MY opinion !!

Our future is destined for the stars . It's just a fact of nature and is tied in not just to the nature of our nearest star..The Sun but also the mechanics of this planet.

For this brief elaboration I'll just stick to our sun. The sun is heating up !...it's a natural consequence as it uses up it's fuel....Forget about the fact that in 5 billion years it would have long expanded to make toasty crisps of the earth !!...it will long before that get so hot that we'll have (saving human ingenuity**) no choice but to exit the planet.

Unless there is a way that we can travel to nearby stars quickly, then our future will be on Generational ships as we live and die in space. ...and space is not human friendly..in fact ..it's terminal !!...without the shielding of this planets atmosphere and magnetosphere we would all be toast !!!...in space...we have no such protection that can protect us as well as the atmospgere etc etc.....and so...expect genetics to play a role as we are forced to change ourselves ...to acclimatise ourselves to our new harsh environment.....either genetics or implants or a combination of both. Assume we survive...the humans of the far far distant future will be as alien to us now as we are to a grapefruit !...and I know some very lovely sexy grapefruits !!..LOL

HOWEVER.....If there is one thing I have great faith in...is Human Ingenuity **
.....our ability to see a problem...understand it...and find a resolution I think is unfathomable....Who knows what wonderful discoveries we will either make or create ?..... and it could be that our distant future may not see us escaping the Sun...but maybe fixing it..or fashioning it......


There are also Earth bound issues which are intrinsic to this planet which may force the move long before the Sun does.


Still...the likes of EWE and me need not worry about...unless some idiot decides to make toast of the planet themselves......*le sulk*
 

Offline syhprum

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3820
  • Thanked: 19 times
    • View Profile
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #12 on: 28/11/2006 21:58:23 »
about 40 years ago there was a TV play about a radio astronomy group who received an intelligent transmission from the direction of Andromeda which they decoded as the program to synthesize human chromosomes which they then used to create a human like being.
This sounds very unlikely with the technology available in 1960 but we may be approaching the time when it might be possible perhaps we should produce this program and transmit it in the direction of Andromeda so that we can be re-constituted after the supernova has zapped us
« Last Edit: 29/11/2006 07:59:01 by syhprum »
 

Offline Gaia

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 397
    • View Profile
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #13 on: 28/11/2006 22:22:36 »
Ar
about 40 years ago there was a TV play about a radio astronomy group who received an intelligent transmission from the direction of Andromeda which the decoded as the program to synthesize human chromosomes which they then use to create a human like being.
This sounds very unlikely with the technology available in 1960 but we may be approaching the time when it might be possible perhaps we should produce this program and transmit it in the direction of Andromeda so that we can be re-constituted after the supernova has zapped us

Are you talking about A for Andromeda? It was shown recently on BBC4.
 

Offline moonfire

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 4597
  • Can't stand the heat, step away from the fire!
    • View Profile
    • http://www.m2global.com/stormdiamonds
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #14 on: 30/11/2006 23:14:40 »
You're all invited to my BBQ in about 5-7 Billion years....how does July 25th sound?

<font color="blue">'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'</font id="blue">

Will you invite me?  LOL 
 

Offline neilep

  • Withdrawnmist
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 20602
  • Thanked: 8 times
    • View Profile
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #15 on: 01/12/2006 05:59:22 »
You're all invited to my BBQ in about 5-7 Billion years....how does July 25th sound?

<font color="blue">'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'</font id="blue">

Will you invite me?  LOL 



Hi Lo *giggles*...how could I NOT invite ewe ?
 

Offline moonfire

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 4597
  • Can't stand the heat, step away from the fire!
    • View Profile
    • http://www.m2global.com/stormdiamonds
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #16 on: 01/12/2006 07:59:04 »
;-) Ewe are a bit cuter each day...I will gladly accept!  LOL
 

Offline Karen W.

  • Moderator
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *****
  • Posts: 31653
  • Thanked: 5 times
  • "come fly with me"
    • View Profile
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #17 on: 01/12/2006 08:00:50 »
Hey I am coming I am crashing the party!
 

Offline moonfire

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 4597
  • Can't stand the heat, step away from the fire!
    • View Profile
    • http://www.m2global.com/stormdiamonds
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #18 on: 01/12/2006 14:22:24 »
Darling, we wouldn't expect anything else....hehe  ;-)
 

Offline Titanscape

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 785
    • View Profile
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #19 on: 03/12/2006 14:43:45 »
The Bible says there will be no more seas in those days. And that there will be a city made of saphire the size of the US cubed, totally enclosed.

I heard from scientist that the sun will die in a nova, not a supernova. Only giants die as supernovas.

I heard that the red giant will engulf Mars too, and was under the impression that it would retract taking the earth into itself. Anyhow the rocks will melt and the history weather good or evil in the rocks will end. Rock melting down to the magma pillars just the city of God floating like Noah's ark. Or perhaps it will be taken away.

From a sci fi view, perhaps Titan will be a colony then. It's my dream, dome cities. Core heating and energy.

« Last Edit: 03/12/2006 14:53:30 by Titanscape »
 

Offline Mjhavok

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 468
    • View Profile
    • http://cantmakeadifference.blogspot.com
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #20 on: 03/12/2006 17:18:54 »
The bible

lol
 

Offline VAlibrarian

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 173
    • View Profile
Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #21 on: 04/12/2006 02:15:15 »
Hey guys-
It is probably not realistic to concern ourselves with the eventual melting of our planet due to the natural progression of our sun. It makes a rather unwarranted assumption- that we can survive that long by learning to be careful stewards of the living systems of our planet. You are talking about a billion years from now. Ha, any climatologist or natural resources expert can tell you that the next 200 years are going to be rocky. Longer term, there have also been several massive die-offs in the past several hundred million years due to massive meteor blasts. I am not sure that we could actually deal with one of those if it showed up tomorrow.
i'm not trying to be pessimistic, just practical.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: What if the Sun dies?
« Reply #21 on: 04/12/2006 02:15:15 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums
 
Login
Login with username, password and session length