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  • Let's speculate for a moment.

  • What would happen if our sun suddenly went out?

  • For an hour

  • or for a month

  • or let's say even for a whole year?

  • What would happen to mankind?

  • The very last photons from the surface of our star and the last particles that make up the solar wind

  • have started their final flight towards the Earth.

  • No one yet suspects that the heart of our solar system has stopped functioning.

  • 8 to 9 minutes later and the sky suddenly turns black.

  • Darkness descends upon the entire planet.

  • No matter whether at the moment it's the deep dark of midnight

  • or a bright sunny noontime at your location,

  • you can quickly and easily see the difference.

  • The stars are now all clearly visible against the sheer black backdrop of the sky.

  • The Moon is not visible at all since there's no longer any sunlight were it to reflect

  • A moment before the onset of the all and shrouding darkness

  • bright Northern Lights may appear

  • due to changes in the magnetic field around the Earth

  • and the disturbances in the ionosphere.

  • The most dreadful consequence of all

  • is the complete and utter cessation of the process of photosynthesis

  • resulting in plants and cyanobacteria no longer producing oxygen.

  • This will soon lead to, how shall we say it,

  • difficulties for every living being.

  • After an hour, true panic reigns over the heretofore day times side of the earth.

  • Power and communication outages propagate across the entire planet.

  • Temperatures everywhere drop by a several degrees

  • and the Earth surface begins to slowly cool.

  • But from the inside the planet is still heated by its molten core.

  • 24 hours in, dawn has not and will not arrive.

  • Panic and chaos are enveloping the entire world

  • State authorities have almost zero control over the situation.

  • Humankind is trying to figure out what the hell happened

  • while coping with massive power and water supply outages.

  • The temperature on the surface falls to betweento 7 °C

  • That's about 41° to 45 °F

  • and has now decreased by about 15° to 20 °C.

  • That's a drop of about 30 °F.

  • Some species of plants and microorganisms begin to die.

  • The inhabitants of the ocean for the time being

  • feel almost no changes.

  • After 7 days, it's still dark.

  • The average temperature on earth is now -17 °C.

  • That's about 1 °F.

  • In areas where there are tectonic faults,

  • it's still warm.

  • Thanks to geothermal energy

  • not letting the surface freeze over.

  • Most plants have already died due to cold or lack of light.

  • Herbivorous and heat loving animals also begin to die.

  • In the oceans, phytoplanktons begin to die as well.

  • The inhabitants of shallow waters

  • suffer tremendously from the cold

  • and the surface of the ocean is beginning to turn to ice.

  • By now, scientists and other individuals have realized

  • what has happened and rushed to organize and equip shelters.

  • One month in and the Earth is continuing to cool.

  • The average temperature on the surface

  • is now about -30 °C.

  • That's -22 °F.

  • And almost the entire planet is now coated with ice.

  • Virtually all plants and cyanobacteria have perished.

  • Some species of trees, especially conifers, are still alive.

  • But with the lack of sunlight,

  • even they are not producing oxygen.

  • In fact, most of the earth living things have died.

  • But..

  • some bacteria still carry on with their normal life activity.

  • Most of the remaining life on earth

  • is now found only near geothermal springs and under water.

  • Interestingly, the layer of ice on the surface of the ocean

  • slows down their cooling.

  • And in the areas of oceanic tectonic faults

  • and geothermal sources, the water is still warm.

  • Obviously being naturally heated.

  • But even in the ocean

  • the drama of a mass extinction event

  • begins to unfold.

  • One year in and the surface of the Earth and the oceans

  • are covered with a thick layer of ice.

  • According to professor David Stevenson at CalTech

  • the temperature on the surface of the earth

  • should drop to about -40 °C and that's the same in Fahrenheit.

  • Life endures now only deep in the earth oceans,

  • and perhaps some groups of humans

  • might be able to survive on the surface of the planet

  • in places like Iceland and other areas with large amounts of geothermal activity.

  • Professor Stevenson believes that the Earth

  • will continue to cool for another several thousand years.

  • Until the surface temperature reaches approximately -160 °C.

  • That's about -256 °F.

  • At that point, life on the planet

  • in the usual sense of the word

  • will simply become impossible.

  • And let's not forget about the gravity of the Sun.

  • After all, it's unlikely that the Sun could suddenly go out

  • without losing its gravitational pull.

  • If the Sun ceases to hold the planets

  • and other celestial bodies in their orbit

  • then the planets and asteroids will simply fly away into outer space.

  • Some of them possibly even colliding with one another.

  • The Earth for one will soar out into deep space

  • where it could get bombarded with asteroids, comets and radiation

  • collide with another planet

  • or even some day end up in the gravity well of a black hole.

  • There's also a very small possibility that

  • after wandering through space for a very long time,

  • the Earth would be able to integrate

  • into another stellar system and find a new sun.

  • In the end, however,

  • it's important to realize that this scenario is just a fantasy.

  • Or rather a thought experiment of sorts.

  • As for the real future of our star,

  • in a couple of billion years

  • the sun will swell and turn into a red giant.

  • Our star will swallow Mercury and Venus

  • and Earth and Mars will become heated up to several thousand degrees.

  • In five billion years,

  • the Sun will explode and throw off its outer envelope.

  • Leaving at the center of the Solar System,

  • a gradually cooling stellar core.

  • A white dwarf around which will orbit

  • whatever remains of the Solar System after the explosion.

  • Concerning humankind, its fate remains unknown

  • Hopefully by that time

  • we'll be able to fly to other planets and star systems.

  • But that is a story for another day.

Let's speculate for a moment.

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If The Sun Goes Out For 24 Hours

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    April Lu posted on 2018/06/05
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