It is common knowledge that sun is the provider of most life forms and flora on planet earth. While sun isn’t going anywhere for around 10-11 billion years, sometimes it makes us wonder what happens if the sun disappeared. To fix your curiosity, here are some things that will happen if sun disappears.
8 minutes to realize what actually happened – It takes sunlight 8 minutes to reach earth. So, from the time sun disappears, it will be 8 minutes before we get to know visually what actually happened.
Planets will fall into space – With mass of around 333,000 times that of earth, sun provides the gravity to hold the planets in their respective orbits. Without the sun, it will be complete chaos in the solar system. Planets will start falling into deep space and it’s difficult to tell where they will be heading. Inter-planetary collisions are unlikely due to the vast distance and the fact that all planets will be travelling on a straight line in space.
Life would be normal for a while – Initially, the sun disappearing will be similar to the sun setting like it does every day. Cities won’t go dark immediately, as power plants will continue to function, as long as fuel supply is available.
Dependent on star light – Without the sun, earth will lose its moon. Earthlings will become dependent on star light to see things around. As per estimates, the ambient light present in the Milky Way galaxy is around 1/300th of a full moon. So, we could still see around a bit, but it will be quite dark. It will be a scary situation, as there will be a constant night and no morning.
Photosynthesis comes to a halt – Around 99.99 percent of the earth’s productivity is contributed via photosynthesis. It’s what plants do to convert solar energy into their own food and the food for humans and other life forms. As plants die, the earth will fall into a major food crisis. We might manage for a few months on available stock, but beyond that it will hunger for most life forms.
No immediate shortage of oxygen – With plants dying, it may seem like we may run out of oxygen. But that will not be immediate, since earth already has abundant supply of oxygen that will last for around 1,000 years.
Frozen earth – With the sun, average earth temperature is around 57° F. But with the sun gone, temperature will start to fall. In a week’s time without the sun, average surface temperature will drop to freezing level (32° F). But after a year, average surface temperature on earth will be -99.4° F. Humans will have to move to places where they can get warmth from the earth’s core such as naturally occurring hot springs.
Air turns into snow – As years pass without the sun, earth will become so cold that air will turn into liquid and start falling like snow. Humans will have to heat up this snow inside a closed space to get the required oxygen.
Oceans freeze – All water bodies including oceans will be frozen after a few years without the sun. However, several kilometers deep, there could still be some water in liquid form. This could continue for millions of years.
Microorganisms can continue to flourish – Microorganisms that live deep inside the earth or oceans can continue to flourish even without sun. Some of these may not even realize that there’s been a change in the solar system.