Select Page

What Would Happen if the Sun Exploded?

Beautiful red orange and yellow sunset above mountains

The sun is a normal thing for us to see every day and we often don’t think twice about it being there, but what would happen if it were to suddenly explode? We rely on the sun to heat the planet, and without it, things would go disastrously wrong very quickly. 

The sun has been around for so long that we expect it to be there forever, but this is not the case. Eventually, the sun’s time is going to run out, and we are going to tell you exactly what would happen if the sun were to explode or disappear. 

How Old is the Sun?

The sun is 4,500,000,000 years old, which is four and a half billion years old. We know the age of the sun because we are able to look at the age of the entire solar system, which all came together around the same time. To find out exactly how old the sun is, experts looked at the oldest resources that they could find, and moon rocks were perfect for this. When astronauts brought back rocks from the moon, scientists were able to study them to determine how old they are.

What is the Sun Made Of?

The sun is a yellow dwarf star, which is a hot ball of glowing gases that remains at the heart of our solar system. The gravity of the sun holds the solar system together, and it keeps everything in its orbit. The sun is in connection with the Earth, and it provides us with different seasons, ocean currents, weather, climates, and more. 

How Will the Sun Die?

The sun is a star and when a star explodes, it is called a supernova, which is what would occur if the sun were to explode. These explosions are super bright and really powerful, and they would release a lot of dust into space, which would be used to make more stars and planets. The solar system was created using things that occur from these explosions. 

Through scientific research, we know that the sun is around 4.5 billion years old. When we combine this with the knowledge that stars the size of the sun typically live for around 9-10 billion years, it can be suggested that the sun is currently around halfway through its life. This means that in around 5 billion years, the sun is likely to reach the end of its life. 

Once the sun starts to die, it is thought that it will start to expand and get colder. At this point in time, it will be what is called a red giant, and due to its expansion, there is a high chance that it will consume nearby planets like Mercury, Venus, and Earth. As the red giant continues to expand, it will start to blow off its outer layers into the solar system, and this will lead to a decrease in size as it transitions to a white dwarf. 

What Would Happen if the Sun Exploded?

If the sun were to suddenly explode, the entire solar system is likely to be destroyed, but the process that would take place is really interesting. Only stars that are 10 times the size of the sun would explode in an all-consuming manner so quickly, and the sun will die quite differently. 

The process of a star dying is called a supernova, but the sun will die much more slowly, sort of like letting air out of a balloon. At the point where the sun becomes a white dwarf, it would no longer be able to produce enough light to sustain the planets in the solar system. This would mean that everything gets darker and colder, and the conditions would not be able to support human life. 

The hope is that by this point in time, we will have the resources available to leave planet Earth and migrate to another location. This would allow humans to survive after the sun explodes, but nobody knows for sure that this will happen. 

Can We Stop the Sun From Dying?

To be able to save the sun from dying, we would need to find a way to make it last for longer than the five billion years that it has remaining. We would need a way to make the unburned hydrogen move from the radioactive and connective zones down into the core. 

One theory to do this would be to crash another star into the sun as this would help to deliver a fresh fuel source for the sun. However, you would need to deliver a steady stream of stars for this to work long-term, which isn’t really feasible. Even if you did do this, after a while, you would accumulate enough mass to create a supernova, and this isn’t something that we want to happen. 

Another option to solve this problem would be to strip material off the sun and create red dwarfs. Stars that have less than 35% of the mass of the sun are fully convective, which means that they don’t have a radioactive zone. They are able to mix all of their hydrogen fuel in the core, which can last for much longer. 

How Long Would it Take Us To Realise if the Sun Exploded?

It would take 8 minutes and 20 seconds for us to realise that the sun has exploded if this were to happen. The light that is emitted from the sun takes this amount of time to reach planet Earth, so if the sun were to explode, we wouldn’t know about it for a full eight minutes and twenty seconds. 

So, we wouldn’t see or know about this explosion until the light reached us as the fastest that this explosive light could travel is at the speed of light. All of the energy that would come from such an explosion would almost instantly kill all of the life that is on Earth when it reaches us. Any chances of survival are pretty much at zero.