The sun is about 333,000 times the mass of our planet and produces the same amount of energy as 100 billion hydrogen bombs every second. The gigantic mass makes this star the dominant gravitational force in the entire solar system, reliably fixing all eight planets in their orbits. At the same time, the sun’s energy heats the Earth to the required extent for the emergence of a catalyst for life – water.
At least, this thought experiment was not neglected by Albert Einstein himself – well, based on his calculations, we will try to tell you what will happen to the Earth if a star suddenly goes out.
Before Einstein asked the question, scientists believed that gravity changes instantly. If this were indeed the case, then the sun’s disappearance would immediately send all eight planets on an endless journey through the dark depths of the galaxy.
But Einstein proved that the speed of light and the speed of gravity propagate simultaneously, which means that we will enjoy ordinary life for another eight minutes before we realize the disappearance of the sun.
The sun may go out. In this case, humanity will not remain in complete darkness on a planet filled with desperate madmen. The stars will still shine, factories will still work, and people may not start lighting the fires of the Inquisition for another decade.
But photosynthesis will stop. Most plants will die within a few days – but that’s not what should worry us the most. The average temperature of the Earth will drop to -17 degrees Celsius in a week. By the end of the first year, our planet will begin to experience a new ice age.
Remains of life
Of course, most of life on Earth will cease to exist. In less than a month, almost all plants will die. Large trees will survive for several more years since they have large reserves of nutritious sucrose. But, nothing will threaten some microorganisms – so, formally, life on Earth will be preserved.
But what will happen to our species? Astronomy professor Eric Blackman is confident that we can easily survive without the sun. This will happen thanks to the volcanic heat, which can be used for heating homes and industrial purposes.
The best place to live will be in Iceland: people here are already heating their homes with geothermal energy.
But worst of all, the absence of the sun will rip our planet off the leash and send it on a long, long journey. The planet will rush in search of adventure – and, most likely, it will find it with ease.
Unfortunately, this will not end very well for us: the slightest collision with another object will cause huge destruction.
But there is a more optimistic scenario: if the planet is carried towards the Milky Way, the Earth may find itself a new star and enter a new orbit. In such an incredibly unlikely event, the people who have flown will become the first cosmonauts to cover such a significant distance