What If The Sun Exploded?
Have you ever wondered what would happen if the sun exploded? It would be a cataclysmic event. The sun has to end sometime, its nature. Through looking at the universe we can determine the lifespan of stars by looking at the past events of previous stars and how they came to their fate. We are here to tell you exactly what will happen at the end of the suns life.
An image to represent the Sun exploding
How Old Is The Sun?
The sun is currently 4.5 billion years old. It is roughly around halfway through its life expectancy. In an estimated 5 billion years the sun will reach its end of life phase. 500 million years before the sun is expected to die, it should be around 10% bigger in size. This means that the suns rays will be much hotter and stronger than normal (Prepare your sunglasses, this is about to get bright) Now 500 million years later the Sun will be 40% bigger, hotter, and brighter. At this stage, the sun would be humongous. Finally, the Sun reaches its final stage. This stage is called a Red Giant.
Why Does The Sun Die?
The Sun uses a scientific technique called nuclear fusion, this is where the sun uses hydrogen that is converted into helium to burn. Once this Hydrogen supply is finally depleted, the sun starts to build up helium ash in its core. Eventually, the sun becomes volatile and collapses under its own weight. This causes the core to get extremely hot and dense, which in effect causes the outer layers to expand. This entire process does take a few billion years. At the end of the Red giant phase, it then moves onto the planetary nebula stage.
The Planetary Nebula Phase
The Planetary Nebula stage is when what is left of the Sun. A shell of hot glowing gas starts to expand which eventually results in stellar winds. While this looks extremely explosive, it actually takes quite a while, 10s of thousands of years to be exact. So what are we left with now? Well, this is what is called a White Star.
White Dwarf Star
The white dwarf star is the phase after the planetary nebula stage, this star is still extremely hot. It is around 100,000 degrees centigrade. Finally, it will gradually cool down and will turn into a black dwarf, a small rock floating around in space. Now during this process, this would generally be the answer to the question, what if the sun exploded? But there is a lot more to the processes that happen after.
What If The Sun Was Bigger?
If the Sun was bigger, it would go through a different lifecycle. Instead of turning into a planetary nebular, it would actually turn Super Nova. Once a star has turned Super Nova it then ends with a big finale. Yes a black hole, and that would be the end for our galaxy. Don’t worry, because our Sun is not big enough to turn Super Nova, This would not happen.
How Will This Entire Process Affect Planet Earth?
Well if we are honest, the human race will never experience any other stage of the Sun’s lifecycle. We will most likely have killed our own race off or made the planet uninhabitable. So in 1.5 billion years, the Sun will begin to swell, it will reach a size increase of roughly 10%. At this point, things on earth become a lot hotter. What is left of our polar ice caps will definitely melt away. In effect, this will bring huge floods to coastal areas. Not everywhere will flood though, you may be fortunate enough to escape the water, but in places where there is not much water, there will be severe droughts. Now as you can imagine this is an extreme change to the climate. Life on earth will never be the same.
A few Billion Years Later.
As we move on a few billion years later, the Sun will continue to swell. Water on planet earth will now begin to boil and eventually evaporate. So how will life on earth cope now? The answer is it won’t. After all the water on earth has evaporated, no life will be able to survive and thus the planet will now be an uninhabitable zone. As the earth keeps increasing in temperate anything left on earth will set on fire and burn. That means there will be no more buildings, plants and people. The earth will be back to its old self, a ball of rock.
Possible Outcomes For The Earth.
During the red giant phase of the Sun, this is the main process to represent the question, what if the sun exploded. There are now a few possible outcomes for the planet Earth. We know that when the sun swells it will swell so large it will consume Mercury and Venus. We are still unsure as to whether the Sun will consume Earth. If Earth was to be sucked into the Sun’s atmosphere it will collide with particles of gas and the Earth would Decay. If the Earth did manage to escape the Sun’s wrath, it would still be extremely scorched. After the Earth has been scorched this could go two ways, it could either stay in our Sun’s orbit as it turns into a White dwarf, or it could lose orbit of our sun and be attracted to the nearest Star. At this point, the Star becomes our new Sun. It is hard to judge what will happen to the Earth, but the most likely outcome is that the Earth will orbit its nearest object and stay intact until something crashed into it. Possibly an Asteroid.
The End Of Our Solar System.
After the whole process has taken place and the Sun turns into a White Dwarf, our solar system will eventually die down and darken. This is not all so bad, the leftover from the star will be scattered around space and will eventually help to make more stars and possible give life to a new planet. Earth 2.0 comes into mind. So we said at the start “What if our sun exploded?” well the truth is, it will not explode as such. The Sun will expand and contract until the Sun eventually dies. This is the process that all stars will follow and it is a spectacular event. If only we could watch it happen.
Will Humans Survive?
This is an almighty question, everyone always wonders if Humans will survive the Sun’s extinction. The truth is we do not know. Humans technology is advancing exponentially, and in 1 billion years we could be such an advanced race that we could have found a new planet in the universe and even colonized an entire galaxy. Who knows?
I hope you enjoyed reading our article on “What if the Sun exploded?” and if you have any questions then feel free to leave a comment and we will try our best to answer it.
We actually have written another interesting “what if” article, which is “What if I drilled a hole in the earth and jumped in” Check it out if you enjoyed this article “What if the sun exploded?”