Astronomers estimate that the sun has about 7 billion to 8 billion years left before it sputters out and dies. But before that, in about 5 billion years, the sun will run out of hydrogen. A couple of times throughout history, natural phenomena have affected the sun’s ability to reach and warm the earth.
What would happen if the Sun disappeared or exploded? The Sun is the closest star to earth. Sun’s light hits the planet’s surface, making it warm enough for living organisms to develop and live. Plants convert solar energy into chemical energy. They give us oxygen to breathe.
What would happen if the sun exploded?
Take a look at this hypothetical situation and imagine what it would be like to live on earth without the Sun? The Sun is 93 million miles away from Earth, and it takes 8 minutes for light from the Sun to reach the earth’s surface. After the Sun exploded, it would take 8 minutes for this news to get us.
- Einstein’s theory of relativity suggests that gravity travels at the speed of light.
So after those initial eight and a half minutes, there won’t be any gravitational force to hold the earth in a particular orbit. It will fly away into the solar system into endless space in a straight line at the speed of 18 miles per second. After that earth would start to fly in a straight line. That’s when mass panic would probably begin.
Within the first 24 hours, widespread panic ensues, social upheaval happens, and society breaks down. After the sun wins out, the media and the internet will flood with a bazillion theories about what’s happening. It’s the end of the world!
After the explosion of sun
Scientists have already modeled this situation to learn about the consequences of such a potential explosion. The results showed that the star would not explode like an ordinary bomb. The force of gravity will prevent it from expanding instantly. In such a scenario, a simple increase in the temperature of the Sun’s core will cause a vast amount of radiation to flood onto the earth.
- Ultraviolet rays will damage our unprotected eyes and also cause skin cancer.
At the first time, the temperature will continue to rise until it reaches 60 degrees Celsius or 140 Fahrenheit or even much higher. However, under any of these scenarios sun will destroy most living things on the planet.
- A temperature increase in the core will still lead to an explosion.
In this case, the whole sky will be covered with white fire, and it will even be light at night. Such a fireworks show will likely be too bright for human eyes. So most people will go blind.
The power of this solar blast will be equivalent to the explosion of several octillion nuclear warheads. After that, a stream of hot plasma will flood through space. When it reaches the earth, the temperature will rise sharply. Water from the oceans will evaporate quite quickly. The world will turn into something like a giant steam bath.
Many fires will erupt all over the planet, and mighty storms will fan the flames. The storms will arise due to the temperature difference after the explosion and may exceed a speed of 1,000 kilometers or 620 miles an hour. In other words, the speed of the vortices on earth will exceed even the infamous hurricanes of Jupiter. It can reach approximately 600 kilometers or 370 miles an hour.
Unbelievably strong winds will raise clouds of dust and sand into the atmosphere triggering monstrous tsunamis. Millions of people will be washed away into the sea carried away by hurricanes. Many others will be trapped under the rubble of skyscrapers.
Perhaps people will try to hide from this onslaught of natural disasters in Bunkers. But they will die as well when the sun’s red hot plasma reaches the earth. Earth will also be thrown from its orbit, speeding away from the Sun. It may well collide with another planet and smash into a billion pieces.
After the disappearing of sun
Life would start decomposing, bringing on the collapse of the entire food web. Within the same week, the planet’s surface temperature would drop, which is survivable for now. But the universe is a prominent and cold place where the ambient temperature of space is around minus 273 degrees Celsius. It means it will only get colder and colder after a month.
Extremely cold climates such as the Arctic will rapidly become unbearable. If the sun destroys while it’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere, humans and other life dying off would accelerate. As the earth’s poles cooled, the overall atmospheric height would drop as density grew.
Strong winds would begin to blow towards the equator worldwide as the atmosphere drops. These winds would increasingly grow colder and disrupt the jet stream, most likely creating strong currents at ground level. The water vapor in our atmosphere would condense, and it would snow in most regions of the world. Many places would be hit with blizzards. In addition to cold, wild weather, the atmosphere would separate into its component gasses by density.
The higher density elements would drift to ground level, and the lower density gases would rise, thus disrupting the amount of breathable air available. Living near the ocean is helpful, as the water will slow the surface cooling in your region.
Another concern is CO2. The CO2 in low concentrations is a physiologically important gas, but at high concentrations is toxic. At one percent of air, you’d become drowsy, but greater than 10 percent would lead to convulsions, coma, and death.
The biggest problem would be photosynthesis’s loss, which makes up 99.9 percent of Earth’s natural productivity. The process would eventually cease in about 24 hours. Without the Sun, plants would not produce food, take in carbon dioxide, and give off life-sustaining oxygen. So plants would no longer be able to produce life-sustaining oxygen. It might sound like a serious issue, but it isn’t collectively all living humans, all insects. All animals would still have enough oxygen to breathe for about another thousand years.
As much of a problem as the cold is that crops, in fact, most plant life, would rapidly die. The majority of plants would be dead within a few weeks. Large healthy trees could survive for several decades without photosynthesis due to slow metabolism and substantial sugar stores.
However, that assumes that the trees wouldn’t be decimated for food or kindling. Plants are autotrophs or primary producers in the food chain, so as they die off, herbivores would quickly follow. Then they would be followed by carnivores. Scavengers, assuming they could survive within the cold, would hang on a little longer.
Larger trees and plants could survive longer depending on how much food the tree or large plant had stored. Some trees can live from 6 months to a year in the cold and dark. But eventually, without the Sun, the trees that survived would start to freeze and ultimately turn into ice. Animals that depended on plant matter to survive, like cows, goats, horses, and other grazing animals, would run out of food first.
Like lions, bears, tigers, and other meat-eating creatures, Carnivores will surely live longer, feeding off the herbivores weakened by cold and starvation. It would be dependent if those carnivores could survive the dropping temperatures all across the globe. But most carnivores like wolves and bears can survive freezing temperatures. Fish in shallow lakes or rivers will likely freeze to death, and those lake’s rivers and streams would start to freeze over with ice.
It would be extremely cold without any source of heat. Earth would cool down very quickly within the first week. The earth would be about 32 degrees Fahrenheit or zero degrees Celsius. The organisms living in the deep ocean that don’t need sunlight will thrive for billions of years until the water becomes ice.
- By the end of the first year without the Sun, it would be so cold that the only way for us and other organisms to survive would be to go underground as deep as possible.
The closer you would live to the core, the better chances you would have, but that would involve a lot of digging. The extreme temperatures on the surface of oceans would become a giant skating rink. Liquid water would continue to exist at the bottom of oceans. In this case, the ice would melt.
- For billions of years, it wouldn’t freeze because the Earth’s core would still be very hot.
- After a year without sun, the temperature would be negative 150 degrees Fahrenheit (-101 Celsius).
Over time the earth would become an ice planet. Rivers, lakes, and oceans would freeze on the surface. The water underneath would remain liquid for thousands of years, insulated by the surface ice depending on the depth.
Solar system breakdown
Sun is the center of the solar system. The earth and the other planets and their moons revolve around the Sun. This happens because of the strong gravitational pull from the Sun’s incredible mass, which equals an incredible 99.86 percent of the solar system’s total mass.
- The solar system is traveling through space simultaneously and a velocity of about 20 kilometers per second.
Suddenly, the center point of gravity is removed from the solar system, and cataclysmic events could happen. The first thing that would fall on the earth is eternal darkness.
Another problem if the sun suddenly vanished is that it would disrupt the orbits of the heavenly bodies in the solar system. The sun’s gravitational mass controls orbit like planets, passing comets, etcetera would continue their forward velocity in a straight line, heading off into space. It means the earth, and we’d move towards distant stars at 67,000 mph 107,826 km/ph).
Theoretically, the earth could get caught in the gravitational pull of another star and begin orbiting it. However, that’s a process that would take several thousand years. Now that you have a sense of some of the underlying issues that would occur in the long run.
Difficult to live
The majority of the population dies from hypothermia, starvation, hypoxia, or violence. People will struggle to keep themselves warm and resort to firing for light. It’s possible that large cities could end up burning as fires get beyond their control. While the fires won’t accelerate because of hot conditions, too few people try to put the fires out.
People weren’t inundated with coastal flooding due to the wild weather and tidal changes. Three days after the sun vanishes, your group emerges out of hiding in a grotesque winter wonderland. Most of the population is dead, and there’s always the potential for violence.
However, most of the remaining survivors are willing to work together. Many people would die from widespread panic as people fled to their homes. There would be no light except for artificial light powered by electricity. The power plants remained operational, and the people who operate them could still keep them running.
- The only chance for survival would be to build an artificial temperature-controlled habitat to live in rapidly. The best bet would be to burrow into the earth and live deep underground. Away from tectonic plate boundaries, the geothermal temperature rises about 1°F per 70 feet of depth (25 °C per km of depth) in most of the world.
If people could create a habitat roughly a mile (1.6 km) underground, they could live at a balmy 75.5 °F (24.1 °C) degree. That assumes they could create and maintain a society with cooperative citizens, sustainable food sources, and breathable air systems. Also, people would need good artificial light and possibly mood enhancers. Other options might be to build a habitat underwater near geothermal vents.
- 24 hours later: Pluto disappears, Temperature begins to drop.
- After 1 week later: The global temperature drops to 0 degrees Celcius. At this point, water begins to freeze.
- 2 weeks later: Due to lack of photosynthesis, plants can no longer be consumed.
- After 3 weeks later: To preserve temperature, the only way is down into the center of the earth.
After 1 year later
After a year, the Earth’s global temperature would dip into a frosty negative 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean’s top layers would have begun to freeze from the poles and out towards the equator. The top layers of ice would be incredibly thick, miles thick.
But the water nearest the core of the earth, along with the top layer of insulating ice, will keep the oceans from freezing solid for hundreds of thousands of years. Many sea creatures that live in cold darkness would still be alive.
Those creatures are unaffected by the loss of the Sun and do not need the Sun to survive. The water at the bottom of the oceans will be insulated by miles of thick surface ice while at the same time being warned by the geothermal fence.
After 1,000 years later
After about 1,000 years, the planet’s global surface temperature would become stable at negative 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature at which the heat radiating from the planet’s core would equal the heat that the earth radiates into space.
When this happens, the atmosphere will freeze and fall to the earth’s surface. That would leave anyone or anything left alive exposed to harsh cosmic radiation that travels through space. Those creatures existing at the bottom of the oceans could still be alive. But by this time unless humankind banded together and somehow created an underground city.
Most humans would have died from either starvation or succumbed to the icy cold. Another thing to consider is that since the earth had lost its gravity, it traveled outwards into space. During these thousands of years of traveling blindly through space, there would have been a good possibility that an asteroid or comet would have collided with earth.
After 1 billion years
After a billion years, the earth would have traveled the distance of 100,000 light-years across the Milky Way. There is a very remote possibility that the earth could find its way close enough to another star where it could be captured in a new orbit around this new star. The life that had carried with its frozen oceans could begin to evolve once again.
When will the sun die out?
The Sun’s surface is an astounding 5,800 Kelvin, hot enough to melt or vaporize any substance known to man, including diamond or graphene. Scientifically, the sun wouldn’t stop burning and go out. When stars die, they expand.
The sun will most likely expand into a red giant star and vaporize the solar system’s inner planets, including the earth, as it collapses and dies. However, the sun evolving into a red giant star will take 7 or 8 billion years, so don’t worry too much about this happening. It is estimated that in five billion years, Sun will go supernova.
Stars don’t explode for no reason. This usually happens when much more massive stars collapse and turn supernova. Its mass would have to be at least eight times greater to turn into a supernova. It will slowly expand in billions of years, turning from a yellowing. Eventually, Sun will completely absorb Mercury and Venus.
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Williams, D.R. “Sun Fact Sheet.” NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
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Asplund, M.; Grevesse, N.; Sauval. “The new solar abundances – Part I: the observations.” Communications in Asteroseismology.
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