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Thread: What if The Sun burped???

  1. #1
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    What are the chances that our Sun might someday cast off a shell of ionized gas, much like other stars have been seen to do? Mind you, I'm not talking about anything like a nova or such, just a "mild hiccup" type thing, after which it continues on it's merry way much as it is.

    Also, if this were to happen, what would be the affect on earth? Would it be limited to perhaps some awesome Auroral displays and radio/TV disruption? Or, are we talking something much more dire???

  2. #2
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    FWIW There are stars (flare stars) that resemble the Sun (class G main sequence) with one BIG difference. Occasionally, they "go off".
    For an interesting (fictional) treatment of this, read "Inconstant Moon" by Larry Niven.
    To answer your question; some or all of us would be "toast" depending on the length of the eruption.

  3. #3
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    so it's just certain G class stars (or other classes, for that matter) that would shed their skin (so to speak) like this? Guess I'll sleep better tonight! [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    Speaking of this subject, I seem to remember a short story sci-fi show (seems like it was part of a trilogy, perhaps) where the color of the moon (it was night) and a breakdown in sattelite communications and such made a guy realize the sun had nova'd, and that they only had til morning to live. He was able to convince another girl (good lookin', of course) of this fact and they pretty much spent the night looting and otherwise reeking havoc. Anyone remember this show? As I recall, it was pretty well written. And oh yeah, he was right, and they all fried as dawn hit 'em.

  4. #4
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    On 2001-11-08 12:03, Wally wrote:

    Speaking of this subject, I seem to remember a short story sci-fi show (seems like it was part of a trilogy, perhaps) where the color of the moon (it was night) and a breakdown in sattelite communications and such made a guy realize the sun had nova'd, and that they only had til morning to live. He was able to convince another girl (good lookin', of course) of this fact and they pretty much spent the night looting and otherwise reeking havoc. Anyone remember this show? As I recall, it was pretty well written. And oh yeah, he was right, and they all fried as dawn hit 'em.
    Sounds as if it was based on the aforementioned Niven short story, which starts with the same premise, except that the hero in this case tries to figure out how to survive.

  5. #5
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    Sounds as if it was based on the aforementioned Niven short story, which starts with the same premise, except that the hero in this case tries to figure out how to survive.
    ... and it was a flare instead of a nova so only Asia, Australia, and parts of Africa and Europe got toasted.

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  6. #6
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    Well, the sun does burp all the time, especially during the solar max period (like right now). The burps are called coronal mass ejections, they're often (maybe always?) associated with solar flares, and they do cause problems (like fried satellites and power grids) and pretty auroral displays.

    Perhaps, though, you were thinking of a belch, rather than a burp... [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif[/img]

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    On 2001-11-08 14:54, Donnie B. wrote:
    Well, the sun does burp all the time, especially during the solar max period (like right now). The burps are called coronal mass ejections, they're often (maybe always?) associated with solar flares, and they do cause problems (like fried satellites and power grids) and pretty auroral displays.

    Perhaps, though, you were thinking of a belch, rather than a burp... [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif[/img]
    Yep! I was thinking more a rauchous belch, as in a large part of the outer shell being cast off kinda thing. . . [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img]

  8. #8
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    Speaking of this subject, I seem to remember a short story sci-fi show (seems like it was part of a trilogy, perhaps) where the color of the moon (it was night) and a breakdown in sattelite communications and such made a guy realize the sun had nova'd, and that they only had til morning to live. He was able to convince another girl (good lookin', of course) of this fact and they pretty much spent the night looting and otherwise reeking havoc. Anyone remember this show? As I recall, it was pretty well written. And oh yeah, he was right, and they all fried as dawn hit 'em.
    I remember seeing an Outer Limits episode based on this. I remember from the episode that the lady wanted to go to Hawaii, but he shot that idea down because the flare would reach Hawaii before it reached(I think) the Pacific Northwest where they were. Good episode, BTW. Really made you think, IMO.

  9. #9
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    Yeah. . . now that you mention it, I think it was Outer Limits. Sounds like it may have been based on the Niven story mentioned above. You're right though. . . it did make you think! I remember figuring it was something else, completely harmless, that was giving all the signs of a nova, and that dawn would come with nothing out of the ordinary. Turns out he was right!

  10. #10
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    I haven't seen the Outer Limits episode, but Niven's "Inconstant Moon" is a terrific story. It's available in the collection "All the Myriad Ways", and possibly others. Very much worth a read.

  11. #11
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    On 2001-11-09 07:49, James wrote:
    I remember from the episode that the lady wanted to go to Hawaii, but he shot that idea down because the flare would reach Hawaii before it reached(I think) the Pacific Northwest where they were. Good episode, BTW. Really made you think, IMO.
    Sounds to me if it should be the other way around: sunrise would come to the Pacific Northwest before it came to Hawaii, unless he decided that Hawaii had already been toasted.

  12. #12
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    Don't know about the adaptation, but in the original story, he figured out that the flare had occurred sometime around midnight -- that is, roughly opposite his location on the planet. Going any direction would just bring you closer to the shock wave (he first assumed that the sun had gone nova, and that the oceans were boiling off on the backside. Later he realized it had just been a major burp, not the full belch... as it were.)

  13. #13
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    On 2001-11-09 14:11, Donnie B. wrote:
    Later he realized it had just been a major burp, not the full belch... as it were.)
    Such charming phrasing we're using on this thread. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif[/img]

  14. #14
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    On 2001-11-09 14:11, Donnie B. wrote:
    Don't know about the adaptation, but in the original story, he figured out that the flare had occurred sometime around midnight -- that is, roughly opposite his location on the planet. Going any direction would just bring you closer to the shock wave (he first assumed that the sun had gone nova, and that the oceans were boiling off on the backside. Later he realized it had just been a major burp, not the full belch... as it were.)
    Yes, that's it! I remember now...he figured that by the time they got to Hawaii, it would be too late.

    On 2001-11-09 14:11, Donnie B. wrote:
    Later he realized it had just been a major burp, not the full belch... as it were.)
    Such charming phrasing we're using on this thread. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif[/img]
    ROTFLMAO [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif[/img] [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif[/img]

  15. #15
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    If the sun belched loud and long, it would probably never be invited to parties ever again (unless this was a frat party or something similar, but I think ol' Sol has outgrown that kind of childishness). [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

    Seriously though, what's keeping our sun from acting up that way? What makes some sun-like stars shed off huge layers of gas while ours just sits there behaving quietly? Just how possible IS it that our own boy will commit this act of rudeness? Anybody know?

    And could someone go into more detail about what effects this would have on the Earth?

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