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Is the Sun Dying?

IF and WHEN it will happen?

Poll closed Jan 1, 2011.
  1. Yes, 1 Billion Years

    3.0%
  2. Yes, 2 Billion Years

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Yes, 3 Billion Years

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Yes, 4 billion Years

    6.1%
  5. Yes, 5 Billion Years

    51.5%
  6. No, 1 Billion Years

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. No, 2 Billion Years

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. No, 3 Billion Years

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  9. No, 4 Billion Years

    6.1%
  10. No, 5 Billion Years

    12.1%
  11. No, Can't Tell

    6.1%
  12. Yes, Can't Tell

    24.2%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Sep 23, 2008 #1
    Is the sun actually dying because I have heard a lot of good scientists near where I live say that it is and is not, and, of course, argue. I'm really wondering will t happen, I know if it does it'll be in like 4.4 Billion years but I want to know is IF it will happen.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2008 #2

    chroot

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    How could it possibly NOT happen? The conservation of energy means the Sun is constantly losing its (nuclear) potential energy. It can't just go on forever, any more than your car can just keep running forever on a single tank.

    - Warren
     
  4. Sep 23, 2008 #3
    that was quick.
     
  5. Sep 23, 2008 #4
    Umm... I'm in middle school, 8th grade, and I have to do a thing called SMATH, maybe you've heard of it, but anyway, my project to is prove or disprove if the sun is dying. I was wondering if you have any advice on what I can use to record the sun's intensity every once a week for five (5) months, besides paper and pencil, could you please help me?
     
  6. Sep 23, 2008 #5

    chroot

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    The Sun's intensity, at ground level, varies a lot over short time-spans. Weather and water vapor in the air, plus sun spots and the natural 11-year solar cycle make for a pretty messy measurement. You could use measurements made by the SOHO spacecraft, though, since it's been around for a long time.

    The problem with measuring the Sun's "decay" is that the Sun is enormous. The composition of the Sun, as it burns its nuclear fuel, does not change by any significant (measurable) amount in five months. The Sun has several billion more years left in it's main sequence (adult) life. Five months a blink of an eye.

    I don't know of any empirical measurement you could make on the Sun alone to show that it is "dying." Astronomers look at stars similar to the Sun, but further along in life, to see how such stars evolve.

    - Warren
     
  7. Sep 23, 2008 #6

    russ_watters

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    Based on the choices that you gave, I think you probably understand pretty well that it is a matter of perspective more than anything else. One might say a person starts dying the day they are born and it takes up to 100 years for the decay to end in death.

    In other words, perhaps that's not a good question for a scientific paper.
     
  8. Oct 1, 2008 #7
    I know but i'm trying to PROVE or DISPROVE whether the sun is dying, and thanks, i'm in accelerated science. I has smartitude
     
  9. Oct 1, 2008 #8

    Nabeshin

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    Can't prove things in science. Perhaps the phrase you're looking for is PROVide evidence for?
     
  10. Oct 1, 2008 #9
    More or less than halfway? Like, if you take the sun and it's current structure and chemical composition and do stuff with that...
    If H makes up 74.9% and each solar cycle such and such amount is used up, how long do we have
    Or maybe other information -
    Hmmm, I may have voted yes but am now thinking no - the sun doesn't have enough energy for a supernova but will instead become a red giant at least before dying... so I really think now when it enters the red giant stage it's dying then.
     
  11. Oct 2, 2008 #10

    russ_watters

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    I don't think you understand the problem here. The problem is that it isn't a scientific question, so you can't prove it scientifically. You can prove whether it has 2, 3, or 4 billion years left to live, but whether that means it is dying or not dying is a question for philosophy, not science.
     
  12. Oct 2, 2008 #11
    Perhaps the question is not, is the sun dying; but rather, has it ever truly lived? The essence of the existence of a celestial body is to frolic in flighty orbit amongst the nether regions of a solar system, alternately facing both bright day and the dark infinity of night - a brinkmanship betwixt increase and entropy that a mere star like the sun can never truly know. A monotony of slow outgassing is all there is for our poor sun. The alternation of light and dark, hot and cold, near and far, that make up the base melody and authentic music of the spheres, he is doomed never to hear.

    But seriously, how about you get a solar cell and a voltmeter and take a measurement at about high noon every day. And work out some sort of handicapping system to adjust for what the weather's like that day. Good luck.

    Okay, one more thing... why do the "no" options in the poll each have a time span associated with them? That doesn't make sense to me. Although, I don't has smartitude.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2008
  13. Oct 2, 2008 #12
    The sun has to die, everything in this universe is a cycle. the planet's are a cycle around the sun, the moon is a cycle around earth, the watercycle, the life cycle, the biosphere of earth as a cycle, carbon cycle, and so on, and so on. with every new life there has to be a death, or there couldn't be life at all... the sun WILL die, when well probably several billion years but it has to happen, and when it does its cosmic dust will be taken back into new material, and life has begun again.
     
  14. Oct 2, 2008 #13

    DaveC426913

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    Except that this is a science forum, not a philosophy forum.

    Or a woo-woo forum*. :rolleyes:


    *(I say this because it sounds like your argument for the death of the sun boils down to "everything dies, therefore the sun must die too", which is not even a valid in philosophical argument. )
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2008
  15. Oct 2, 2008 #14

    DaveC426913

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    What is the meaning of options 6 though 10?

    "No, but if it DID it would be in 5 billion years"?
    "No, it will NOT die in 5 billion years"?
     
  16. Oct 2, 2008 #15
    ^.^ regardless, i am not taking philosophy :/ so my answer was just my own opinion on the matter.
     
  17. Oct 2, 2008 #16

    D H

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    You obviously don't has enough smartitude, Russ.
     
  18. Oct 2, 2008 #17
    It's the circle of life! Hakuna matata ergo sum.
     
  19. Oct 3, 2008 #18
    all stars die eventually whether they take a short time or a long time they die more and more with every super fused molecule in their core.
     
  20. Oct 3, 2008 #19

    DaveC426913

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    Yes, but simply stating it as fact does the OP no good. He's been asked how it can be shown to be true (or false).
     
  21. Oct 3, 2008 #20

    Nabeshin

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    Here:

    P1: The sun has a finite amount of mass.
    P2: The constant nuclear reactions in the sun's core reduce the amount of total mass.
    C: The sun will eventually run out of mass.

    Of course, the sun will not remain in its current hydrogen-fusing state until all mass is used up. But the basic principle is sound, that the sun cannot exist in its current state indefinitely. Therefore, at the very least, the sun is changing. Applying the notion of death to an intimate object is silly anyways, you have to define it much more rigorously.
     
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