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Old October 9th, 2007, 11:51 AM   #1
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What if the sun stopped shining?

I'm making a new short film and I would like to pick a few brains.

If the Sun shut down... how long would Earth have until the temperature became uninhabitable for life as we know it.

From what I've read... we would have a few weeks.

Just go with the the question, don't debate over how the Sun died.

Opinions needed!

Thanks,

Mike
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Old October 9th, 2007, 12:17 PM   #2
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I suggest you to switch to more realistic and more frightening issues like global warming, from which we will die much sooner. Don't you worry about the Sun.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 12:23 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Michael Jouravlev View Post
I suggest you to switch to more realistic and more frightening issues like global warming, from which we will die much sooner. Don't you worry about the Sun.
Please, just try to offer opinions based on the question asked. I'm not acting like this will actually happen. It is a short film based on an old Bible revelation.

So... any opinions on a time-line?

Thanks,

Mike
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Old October 9th, 2007, 12:33 PM   #4
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I would think we would have more than a few weeks. We can generate power without it, we could burn wood for heat, granted it would get too cold to survive but with what we have I would guess we could survive more than a few weeks.
SO for a time line i would say 6 months for all of us to perish, reason being besides the cold factor, you need the sunlight to grow food. The harsh conditions wouldn't allow us to do that.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 12:36 PM   #5
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the problem is more who will die and who will survive.
with nuclear power, probably few thousand people could live on earth for years.
imagine . no problem with nuclear waste, petrol at will.
the only problem will be with oxygen, while you can extract it from solidified ocean.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 12:44 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Mark Bournes View Post
I would think we would have more than a few weeks. We can generate power without it, we could burn wood for heat, granted it would get too cold to survive but with what we have I would guess we could survive more than a few weeks.
SO for a time line i would say 6 months for all of us to perish, reason being besides the cold factor, you need the sunlight to grow food. The harsh conditions wouldn't allow us to do that.
Yes, but we're talking about temperatures that would drop below anything that we're used to. From what I've read the mean temperature of the Earth is 300 Kelvin (K). The freezing point of water is around 273K. In just a couple of months it has been predicted that the temperature would drop to 150K.

So... that's why the prediction of Humans lasting only a few weeks has been put forth. Unless we headed deep underground.

I'm looking for opinions for and against this theory.

Mike
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Old October 9th, 2007, 12:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Giroud Francois View Post
the problem is more who will die and who will survive.
with nuclear power, probably few thousand people could live on earth for years.
imagine . no problem with nuclear waste, petrol at will.
the only problem will be with oxygen, while you can extract it from solidified ocean.
What would these thousands of people live in?

Thanks,


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Old October 9th, 2007, 01:02 PM   #8
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Define "stopped shining"...

If you mean the thermonuclear reactions at the sun's core stopped today then we wouldn't know about it for a few million years. A photon born inside the sun takes an estimated 6 million years to reach the sun's surface!

If you mean that all radiation coming from the sun's surface ceased today then that's a different story. Even overnight, the typical temperature decrease is 15 to 20degC. Imagine a l-o-n-g neverending night. Just a few "days" and it will be positively polar in temperate climes. A few weeks - maybe months - and the earth will reach a new thermal equilibrium between its mantle/core and the vacuum of space. The surface temperature will be somewhat below 200K - very, very cold.

The other way the sun could stop shining is in its own death throes - it rapidly expands to a red giant, engulfing us - complete annihilation....

We'd better hope for the red giant option (which will happen anyway in about 5 billion years).
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Old October 9th, 2007, 01:16 PM   #9
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nope we would en up into the Tom Cruise's bunker, watching MI for ever on a giant screen.
there are some noth pole base working all year in very low temperature, they would probably not even notice the sun is missing.
in fact all depends how much time you would know it before.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 01:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by John F Miller View Post

If you mean that all radiation coming from the sun's surface ceased today then that's a different story. Even overnight, the typical temperature decrease is 15 to 20degC. Imagine a l-o-n-g neverending night. Just a few "days" and it will be positively polar in temperate climes. A few weeks - maybe months - and the earth will reach a new thermal equilibrium between its mantle/core and the vacuum of space. The surface temperature will be somewhat below 200K - very, very cold.
This is what I'm going for, yes. Let's say that one was to stay in his/her gas heated standard home. How long would it take before the cold becomes unbearable in such conditions?

Would the house literally freeze? How long would it take?

Thanks guys!

Mike
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Old October 9th, 2007, 02:34 PM   #11
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Try http://environment.newscientist.com/article/dn11287 a short article on nuclear winter on estimates of effects of just shading out the sun for a bit.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 02:50 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Giroud Francois View Post
nope we would en up into the Tom Cruise's bunker, watching MI for ever on a giant screen.
there are some noth pole base working all year in very low temperature, they would probably not even notice the sun is missing.
in fact all depends how much time you would know it before.
Oh dear. The notion of the sun going out is bad enough, ending up reminded forever of Tom Cruise is worse. I would definitely be the one saying "I am just going outside, and I may be some time".

BTW, the temperature at the south pole typically ranges -21C to -78C (summer to winter). The temperature after the sun goes out would be another 100C cooler. I think you are being very optimistic about our survival (rather than a select few)....Thankfully, it's just a mind game.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 03:18 PM   #13
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we can survive in outer space as long as we wish, so if you are prepared, i think there is no limit (except you brain will break before )
but for the average american, few hours is the limit i think.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 04:06 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Giroud Francois View Post
we can survive in outer space as long as we wish, so if you are prepared, i think there is no limit (except you brain will break before )
but for the average american, few hours is the limit i think.
Who's we? And "as long as we wish" is a bit of a stretch. We do have to eat.

In all seriousness, most of the world would die off in a very short time. Not all of us are prepared to the point that we could survive in outer space.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 05:24 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Giroud Francois View Post
we can survive in outer space as long as we wish, so if you are prepared, i think there is no limit (except you brain will break before )
but for the average american, few hours is the limit i think.
Look at the amount of energy required just to get about a dozen people in low earth orbit and keep them there for a few days.

Try doing that with 6.5 billion people in the space (no pun intended) of a few weeks at most. And provide all the infrastructure, food, energy etc for those 6.5 billion to actually live.

(Strange but related fact: all of the earth's human population could be squeezed onto the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England.)
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