Sun Losing Mass due to Energy Radiation

In summary, the conversation discusses the calculation of the sun's mass loss due to energy radiation. The solar constant is used to determine the total power output of the sun's light at our distance from it. The final step is to calculate the total area over which the sun's energy is spread at that distance.
  • #1

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Homework Statement



Energy from the sun (distance 1.496 x 10^11m from earth) arrives at the Earth at a rate of 1400W/m^2. How fast is the sun losing mass due to energy radiation?

Homework Equations





The Attempt at a Solution



Ok so i thought that Ei = E/r^2 where Ei is incident radiation and E is radiation at source..

Therefore E sun = r^2 (1400)

Then using E=mc^2..I divide the result by c^2 to give mass loss per second..

but i don't get the right answer..where am i going wrong?
thanks
 
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  • #2
The solar constant specifies how much power sun light contains per square meter at our distance from the sun. To get the total power output of the sun light you would then need to know "how many" square meters there are all around the sun at our distance from it.
 
  • #3
You are given the power per unit area at a certain distance from the sun. What's the total area over which the sun's energy is spread at that distance? (You're almost there.)
 

1. How does the sun lose mass due to energy radiation?

The sun loses mass through a process called nuclear fusion, where hydrogen atoms fuse together to form helium and release energy in the form of radiation. This radiation carries mass, which contributes to the sun's overall mass loss over time.

2. How much mass does the sun lose through energy radiation?

The amount of mass the sun loses through energy radiation is extremely small, about 4.3 million tons per second. This may seem like a lot, but the sun's total mass is about 2 x 10^30 kilograms, so the mass loss through energy radiation is very minimal.

3. Will the sun eventually run out of mass due to energy radiation?

No, the sun will not run out of mass due to energy radiation. While the sun does lose mass through this process, it is constantly gaining mass through other means such as the fusion of hydrogen into helium. It is estimated that the sun will continue to shine for another 5 billion years before it runs out of hydrogen to fuel its fusion reactions.

4. Does the sun's mass loss affect its size and gravitational pull?

Yes, the sun's mass loss through energy radiation does affect its size and gravitational pull. As the sun loses mass, it becomes slightly smaller and its gravitational pull weakens. However, these changes are very small and not noticeable on a human timescale.

5. How does the sun's mass loss through energy radiation impact other planets?

The sun's mass loss through energy radiation has a minimal impact on other planets in our solar system. The sun's gravitational pull is still strong enough to keep the planets in their orbits, and the small changes in the sun's size do not significantly affect the planets' orbits. However, the sun's eventual loss of mass in the distant future may have a greater impact on the orbits of planets.

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