Thursday, 24 January 2013

HOW LONG COULD YOU SURVIVE ON THE SURFACE OF THE SUN?

The Sun is by far the largest object in the solar system. It contains more than 99.8% of the total mass of the Solar System (Jupiter contains most of the rest). It is often said that the Sun is an "ordinary" star. That's true in the sense that there are many others similar to it. But there are many more smaller stars than larger ones; the Sun is in the top 10% by mass. The median size of stars in our galaxy is probably less than half the mass of the Sun.

The Sun is personified in many mythologies: the Greeks called it Helios and the Romans called it Sol. The Sun is, at present, about 70% hydrogen and 28% helium by mass everything else ("metals") amounts to less than 2%. This changes slowly over time as the Sun converts hydrogen to helium in its core.

Conditions at the Sun's core (approximately the inner 25% of its radius) are extreme. The temperature is 15 million Celsius and the pressure is 250 billion atmospheres. At the center of the core the Sun's density is more than 150 times that of water.

The Sun's power (about 386 billion billion megaWatts) is produced by nuclear fusion reactions. Each second about 700,000,000 tons of hydrogen are converted to about 695,000,000 tons of helium and 5,000,000 tons of energy in the form of gamma rays. As it travels out toward the surface, the energy is continuously absorbed and re-emitted at lower and lower temperatures so that by the time it reaches the surface, it is primarily visible light. For the last 20% of the way to the surface the energy is carried more by convection than by radiation.

The surface of the Sun, called the photosphere, is at a temperature of about 5526 Celsius . Sunspots are "cool" regions, only 3526 Celsius (they look dark only by comparison with the surrounding regions). Sunspots can be very large, as much as 50,000 km in diameter. Sunspots are caused by complicated and not very well understood interactions with the Sun's magnetic field.

Phew! That is a pretty hot place to be, even in the shade. All sorts of things have fallen into the Sun and disintegrated. I don't think you need to even fall into the Sun to get toasted, just flying by it is enough. So, imagine if you were transported to the surface of the Sun (via the transporter from Star Trek), how long would you last?

I know, I asked the same question too. I wondered at the possibilities as well. It seems impossible but there must be a way to survive, right? Imagine hopping along the surface like Neil Armstrong did on the Moon. Anyway, if you want to find out whether it is possible, take this quiz. Yes this is the ultimate quiz to answer your question once and for all - How long could you survive on the surface of the Sun? Notice the question is "How long.." and not "If you could..", that tells you something.

To proceed, click here or click on the image below.


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