A massive ball of fire consisting largely of hydrogen and helium, the sun powers all life forms on earth. The sun is around 109 times wider than earth and weighs 333,000 times more. It is estimated that the sun is currently in its middle age and will last for another 5 billion years.
With such massive numbers in relation to earth, it sometimes makes us wonder if there could be a way to put out the sun. Is it even possible to switch off the sun? To understand how to extinguish the sun, here are some important things to understand.
Can water extinguish the sun?
On earth, water is the most readily available material to put out a fire. Most of us have used it at some point of our lives. So, it’s natural for us to think about using water to extinguish the sun. But the reality is even if we develop a mechanism to pour large quantities of water on the sun, it will not be able to extinguish it. On the contrary, the sun will burn even brighter.
The science behind it is that the sun is powered by nuclear fusion and is not a chemical combustion. Water can work on chemical combustion such as a campfire, to cool it down and cut off its oxygen supply. In comparison, the sun generates heat from the enormous pressure generated by its huge mass. The gravitational forces are so strong on the sun that atoms fuse together. If you pour water with a giant bucket, the sun’s mass will increase and gravitational forces will become even stronger. It will increase nuclear fusion, making the sun burn brighter.
In case you are planning to use water to increase the sun’s luminosity, you will need a huge amount. For increasing the sun’s luminosity by 1%, you will need water equal to around 800 times the mass of earth. Clearly, there isn’t so much water anywhere near available for use. Also, we don’t have the technology to pour such large quantities of water on the sun.
Replacing the core
Theoretically, it may be possible to extinguish the sun if the core can be replaced by other elements such as iron, carbon, etc. Fusing such elements will require more energy than the energy produced by the fusion. Due to this, the sun’s core will start to shut down gradually. The entire mass will collapse onto itself, creating a red giant. It will later turn into a white dwarf. However, the technology to tamper with the sun’s core is not available at this point of time.
As is evident from above, we currently don’t have the technology and resources to turn the sun Off and On like a bulb. Various other theories have been proposed, but all of these are practically impossible. It just goes on to show the limitations of being a human and our pure dependence on nature.