What Happens if the Sun Explodes?

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By Sam Kantrow on April 4, 2012, 5:15pm

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Woah woah woah, you're jumping the gun here.  Before we explore what would happen, we need to figure out whether it's even physically possible to happen.  After doing a lot of research on this, it seems as though there is no possible way for the sun to actually "explode" per se.  While it might seem huge to us, our Sun is a relatively low mass star compared to the shear enormity of some of the stars in our universe.  When our Sun runs out of juice, or hydrogen fuel, it will expand in size as a red giant, and then finally settle down as a white dwarf star slowly cooling down trillions of years.

But for the fun of it, lets say that our Sun suddenly ate 9 other stars and became 10 times more massive.  If this was the case, an explosion would certainly be possible.  When this super massive Sun runs out of hydrogen fuel, it'll switch over to converting atoms of helium and then atoms of carbon.  What's this mean to you?  

Basically it'll consume layers of elements like an onion, and eventually iron will start to build up in the core of the star.  That spells bad news!  Because iron doesn't give off energy when it undergoes nuclear fusion, there won't be any more outward pressure keeping the core from collapsing inward.  Finally it'll catastrophically implode, releasing an enormous amount of energy.

8 minutes, that's all it takes for light to travel from the Sun to the Earth, and in 8 minutes a HUGE amount of energy will pass the Earth.  Don't worry about covering your couches with plastic, because they'll be vaporized and completely destroyed.  I wouldn't worry about it though, because this is physically impossible to happen to our sun.

So when will the sun burn out?  Find out here.

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Sam Kantrow

Town: Hamden, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since January 2012.

Articles: 625

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