How does sunlight affect the mass of the Earth?

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Offline bradley smith

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How does sunlight affect the mass of the Earth?
« on: 12/05/2009 14:30:03 »
bradley smith  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Dear naked scientists,

If we understand that, with Einstein's theory of general relativity, energy has mass, then at what rate does the earth grow as a result of the sun shining energy on the earth non-stop, and is it enough to effect gravity over millions of years?

Brad Smith

What do you think?

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Offline Bored chemist

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How does sunlight affect the mass of the Earth?
« Reply #1 on: 12/05/2009 20:37:12 »
The earth gains energy from the sun. This warms it up a bit and it then emits infra red radiation. The more it warms up the more it emits until it's losing energy just as fast as it's gaining it.
There's another effect- the earth has radioactive materials in it which decay. That gives a loss of energy (again this is emited as IR) and so this would produce a small loss of mass.

I doubt that it would be measurable.
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