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Wounding the Sun, Facts and Fiction.

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krovex

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Hi,<br />I'm new to using message boards so please go easy on me.<br /><br />I'm doing some research for a project of mine and I am trying to gather as much real world facts & information as possible to make it more realistic.<br /><br />What I world like to know is:<br />Roughly how large would an object have to be to have any real influence on the sun?<br />My plot involves an object colliding with the sun and generating a massive solar flare, which depletes a large amount of its hydrogen fuel. This makes it unstable and brings it closer to the Red Dwarf Stage in its life.<br /><br />So far i am thinking of a comet/Ice Planet.<br /><br />Any Suggestions?
 
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derekmcd

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Not to nitpick, but the sun will not be a red dwarf (not sure if there is such a thing)... It will become a red giant then a <i>white</i> dwarf. I'm no expert, but there is nothing in our local area that could affect the sun in such a way... Not even Jupiter. The only thing that could hasten the suns death would be another star more massive as to steal matter from it. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div> </div><br /><div><span style="color:#0000ff" class="Apple-style-span">"If something's hard to do, then it's not worth doing." - Homer Simpson</span></div> </div>
 
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vogon13

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Comet fragments are routinely observed disintegrating in the vicinity of the sun. It is probably pretty unlikely for a comet, intact, to strike the sun.<br /><br />The effect of an impact from an intact comet, though, would be neglegible.<br /><br /><br />Think bigger!<br /><br /><br /><img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff0000"><strong>TPTB went to Dallas and all I got was Plucked !!</strong></font></p><p><font color="#339966"><strong>So many people, so few recipes !!</strong></font></p><p><font color="#0000ff"><strong>Let's clean up this stinkhole !!</strong></font> </p> </div>
 
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harmonicaman

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The Sun contains 99.85% of all the matter in the Solar System (and Jupiter contains most of the rest); there is nothing in our Solar System which could make much of an impact if it hit the Sun.<br /><br />You might consider the concept of a hypothetical minature Black Hole entering our Solar System and colliding with the Sun -- this might disrupt things; but the whole idea is very Sci-fi!
 
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derekmcd

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Jupiter may be large, but it is actually not very dense. I would think most (if not all) of the atmosphere gets blown away before it gets anywhere near the photosphere. What ever the core is made and it's size would probably not be enough to have any sort of impact. It sure would be cool to observe, though. What a sight that would be... <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div> </div><br /><div><span style="color:#0000ff" class="Apple-style-span">"If something's hard to do, then it's not worth doing." - Homer Simpson</span></div> </div>
 
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derekmcd

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True, to a point. Some of the gas giants have orbits closer than Mercury's orbit, however, they are also know to have tails due to an evaporating atmosphere. They are still far enough away from their star to maintain, though. No doubt, should the orbit decay, the evaporation would be accelerated. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div> </div><br /><div><span style="color:#0000ff" class="Apple-style-span">"If something's hard to do, then it's not worth doing." - Homer Simpson</span></div> </div>
 
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brandbll

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What about if Jupiter is comprised of Hydrogen metal? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font size="3">You wanna talk some jive? I'll talk some jive. I'll talk some jive like you've never heard!</font></p> </div>
 
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derekmcd

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I'm not sure what you are asking. The pressure at certain levels inside Jupiter are of sufficient pressure and heat to produce metallic hydrogen in liquid form. It is theorized that there are vast amounts of hydrogen metal in Jupiter. I can only imagine that what does not get blown off into space via radiation and solar winds would simply be absorbed and turned into plasma. I highly doubt, though, there would be enough left to make any significant impact. As visually stunning as it may be from our perspective, the lasting effect we would see to the photosphere might be similar to the shoemaker-levy impact on Jupiter... if any at all. I suppose there are other factors such as AoA and speed, but I think the end result would be basically the same in that there would be minimal effect if any at all. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div> </div><br /><div><span style="color:#0000ff" class="Apple-style-span">"If something's hard to do, then it's not worth doing." - Homer Simpson</span></div> </div>
 
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brandbll

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Ok, so how about this: Would Earth be affected severly if a planet like Jupiter were to crash into the Sun?<br /><br /><br />Also, is that spot on Jupiter still visible? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font size="3">You wanna talk some jive? I'll talk some jive. I'll talk some jive like you've never heard!</font></p> </div>
 
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derekmcd

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The earth wouldn't be affected at all. Only thing that might affect the earth is Jupiter passing by close enough and slow enough to change our orbit as to change our environment. This would take more energy than you might think. Or Jupiter could just crash into us on it way into the sun. No longer having Jupiter in orbit around the sun wouldn't affect our orbit enough for us to even notice. I guess my point is that you could take all the matter in the solar system (except Earth and the Moon) and crash it into the sun simultaneously and it would have little to no effect on earth. I could be wrong and recommend against anything like this actually happening in my lifetime <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div> </div><br /><div><span style="color:#0000ff" class="Apple-style-span">"If something's hard to do, then it's not worth doing." - Homer Simpson</span></div> </div>
 
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derekmcd

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Yes... the red spot is still visible. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div> </div><br /><div><span style="color:#0000ff" class="Apple-style-span">"If something's hard to do, then it's not worth doing." - Homer Simpson</span></div> </div>
 
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harmonicaman

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Just and aside...:<br /><br />Astronomers have recently noticed a new storm forming on Jupiter!<br />
 
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xmo1

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Large is probably not the right property for the majority of things that could seriously affect the Sun.<br /><br />A relatively small black hole could do some damage. There could be clouds or beams of any number of particles or plasmas that could adversely affect the solar system.<br /><br />It is amazing that Earth has survived as long as it has, and multiply that by the speed it travels through the Milky Way. If the galaxy has been any denser we would probably not exist at all.<br /><br />I would guess, rather uneducated I might add, that you might consider the composition of the Sun, and then the reagents of the components. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>DenniSys.com</p> </div>
 
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nexium

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I'm thinking of the large exit hole, a tiny but very fast, bullet makes. If a solar mass black hole hit the sun at 0.9999c, half of the Sun's hydrogen might follow the projectile out the other side of the Sun. Earth would be damaged by such a plume if the plume enveloped Earth briefly. Since the black hole would only be near Earth for a second, it would perturb Earth's orbit only slightly, even if it missed Earth by only 200 miles.<br />My guess is very little of the plume would be traveling fast enough to escape our solar system, so all bodies with gravity would have a thin hydrogen and helium atmosphere for a few centuries (one microbar plus partial pressure?) The sun would be reduced in mass by several percent for millions, if not billions of years. This should cause red giant stage to occur a few years sooner as perhaps 1% of the helium would be removed from the sun's core. This is offset by the sun being less massive, and thus burning it's remaining hydrogen slower. My guess is less than 1% of the Sun's mass would be captured into the black hole by the very brief passage though the Sun.<br />There are likely zero black holes traveling 0.9999c within a parsec of our sun, so this scenario is extremely unlikely. The Earth would be affected very little other than a few degrees cooler, if the plume missed the Earth. The plume would be only a few hundred miles wide, when it passed Earth, so it would, all but surely miss Earth. Neil
 
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barrykirk

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That scenerio is beyond low probabitly of a solar mass black hole with a velocity of 0.999c striking the sun.<br />But should such an event occur, don't massive relatavistic objects generate a repulsive gravitational force<br />in front of them. Such a force would induce massive shock waves in the sun. I don't think it would have<br />minimal impact on the earth.
 
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krovex

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Thank you all so much for your suggestions and information.<br />Ok so what I have so far is duff, at least I know in the early stages and have time to change it for some thing more realistic.<br />What about another cause? A Pulsar for example, would the beams of radiation be enough to cause instability?<br />
 
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derekmcd

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probably not, but an impact would... even a slow merger with our solar system would likely have consequenses.<br /><br />this link might get ya started. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div> </div><br /><div><span style="color:#0000ff" class="Apple-style-span">"If something's hard to do, then it's not worth doing." - Homer Simpson</span></div> </div>
 
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sirius_black

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has annybody read the book sunstorm?<br /><br />what if this was true(not likely, but what IF)<br /><br />for the people who haven't read it<br /><br />what if a jovian(the size of 16? jupiters(i can't remember the exact number, but it was 16 or more)) hit the sun in a head-on collision? would this be enough to cause a lot of damage to the sun?
 
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alkalin

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What if a number of huge comets or ice chunks, and I’m saying huge, were to enter the sun? I think that at first the sun might cool just a tad, but eventually the ice becomes atomic plasma that actually supplies more fuel for the sun’s nuclear process. So the sun might warm up and last longer. I think the chances of this are greater than some large Jupiter sized planet hitting it some day. We might even find this could result in global warming.<br /><br />I think that even if large planets, not likely of course, entered the sun they would contribute to increase the sun’s mass as a minimum and therefore preserve it some from its current shrinkage. They might also contribute some to the sun’s nuclear process as well. Not all is doom and gloom.<br /><br />How about that as a different perspective.<br /><br /><br />
 
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kelvinzero

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Hi, Could I suggest we go back to what actual plot points you require from a drama point of view? I get the impression that what you really want is for something to permanently change the sun while not immediately extinguishing all life on earth?<br /><br />Im betting that anything catostrophic enough to knock any measurable mass from the sun would definitely end us. High energy always means lots of xray radiation thrown in all directions.<br /><br />Maybe a jupiter sized iceball could come in and be captured on some very close orbit to the sun? That could change its appearance. It's comet tail could be so bright as to be visible even when close to the sun. It would form a massive spiral or saucer in the sky. If you need a countdown, perhaps the planets orbit could be decaying and at some point it would start irradiating the system?<br /><br />Is it important that people know why the sun is becoming unstable? It could simply be a mystery and several theories provided but nothing clearly proved. You could present possibilities but in the end we just have to deal with the reality of it. Science is often like that. This would also let you stick to only good science in explaining the effects of the symptoms, eg what ever more violent solar flares would mean to the environment<br /><br />Why specifically the sun.. Is it meant to be fixable, or a reason to leave the solar system?
 
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nexium

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Some doubtful information sources have suggested that the sun has recently been unstable. Are any reputable sources suggesting more than the minor fluxuations that have likely been occuring for centuries. Neil
 
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3488

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Thats true neil.<br /><br />We are only recently aware of the Sun's quirks, to modern technology. <br /><br />It is nothing new.<br /><br />People seem to jump on a bandwagon, the world is doomed, the Sun is unstable, etc.<br /><br />This is partly why IMO, that humans must return to the moon. Or even large capable <br />rovers able to drill deep core samples in the lunar regolith.<br /><br />The lunar regolith may contain evidence of solar activity, millions, if not billions of<br />years ago, not to mention the changing environment, our solar system experiences as it<br />orbits the Milky Way's centre (close approaches of other stars, supernovae, <br />passing through nebulae, etc).<br /><br />Absolutely fascinating subject.<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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