Collisions with the Sun

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bdaunno

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Just pondering some possible book ideas...

What would happen if an object the size of earth collided with the sun? Would we feel it?
What about an object the size of Jupiter?

Thanks
 
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Saiph

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....answer: I don't expect much at all would happen.

It might create some fun solar flares or CME's that mess with our power grids...but otherwise, not much.
 
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kg

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bdaunno":28jzvodn said:
Just pondering some possible book ideas...

What would happen if an object the size of earth collided with the sun? Would we feel it?
What about an object the size of Jupiter?

Thanks
I read a article a few years ago that talked about what would happen to the sun if it had a direct hit from a white dwarf star. Maybe it was in Sky and Telescope Magazine? A white dwarf has a mass similar to the sun but a volume similar to the earth. If I remember correctley the white dwarf passed through the sun unscathed. The shock wave caused lots of fusion in it's wake causing the sun to simply explode. The mental picture I came away with was a high velocity bullet hitting a watermellon.
 
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michaelmozina

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bdaunno":31tet587 said:
Just pondering some possible book ideas...

What would happen if an object the size of earth collided with the sun? Would we feel it?
What about an object the size of Jupiter?

Thanks
I imagine that a lot would depend on the angle and speed and composition of the object. If it hit the sun at near the speed of light for instance, sure, we'd probably "feel it". Any Earth sized object traveling at a relatively low rate of speed (say slowing spinning into the sun) is likely to be severely degraded as it enters the suns corona. IMO it is unlikely that it would have a direct effect on Earth unless it hit the sun at exactly the right angle and released a massive CME in our specific direction. I suspect it would break up in small chunks before even reaching the photosphere.
 
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vogon13

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A recent article on this topic was in Scientific American. They explored various combinations of collisions amongst red giants, white dwarfs and sunlike stars.

Red giants, IIRC tended to dissipate, and sunlike stars that encountered white dwarfs, as mentioned above, had an enormous energy release from fusion triggered by the shockwave of the interlopers passage.

Blammo.

These stellar objects are constrained by their gravity and so, we might expect smallish objects like earth and Jupiter colliding with a star would be disintegrated on approach via tidal disruption. {recall Jupiter's 'surface' gravity is >3 Gs, the sun's is >28Gs. The effect would be extreme.}
 
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ayepod

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bdaunno":360hv7v5 said:
Just pondering some possible book ideas...

What would happen if an object the size of earth collided with the sun? Would we feel it?
What about an object the size of Jupiter?

Thanks


At some point in the future the chances of this happening will be high. I seen on nasa's astronomy picture of the day archive the other day that there are at least 2 stars that are approaching us faster than we are moving away. It isn't going to happen over night due to distance relative to its speed. but it will happen. Say jupiter and the sun were moving for a collision, we might follow it due to the fact that theres another planet nearby with a gravitational pull that would distort our orbit slightly which could lead to a cataclysmic turn of events from that point onwards. I imagine if a planet the size of jupiter were to hit the sun we'd all be pretty much buggered.
 
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MeteorWayne

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Probably not true. The sun is far more massive than Jupiter (the sun is > 99.8% of the mass in the whole solar system); the sun probably would barely notice it.
Of more effect would be the loss of the stabilizing influence of Jupiter's mass on the orbits of the rest of the planets.

Wayne
 
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