Why will we die without the sun
Apocalypse: what happens when the sun goes out?
We dare to play a mental game: Could there even be life on earth without the sun? And what would that look like?
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Should the sun go out from one second to the next, we humans would only notice it after eight minutes. This is how long the sun's rays need to travel to earth.
Would such a scenario be synonymous with the abrupt end of our species? Hard to say! In principle, we humans are very adaptable: We can survive in Africa just as much as in Siberia.
But what about plants and animals? Even if there are microorganisms that can survive in the earth's crust or in the deep sea without sunlight, most plants would die after a few weeks of permanent darkness at the latest, and photosynthesis would have to stop the entire flora immediately.
Some trees, on the other hand, could actually - at least theoretically - live decades longer because they have a slow metabolism and large sugar stores.
Temperatures hostile to life
Nonetheless, if the plants die, the animals that feed on them will soon die too. That in turn could at least provide the carnivorous creatures with enough food for a certain time - until there are no more carcasses and they too would die.
After only one week of abstinence from the sun, the temperature on earth would drop to around minus 70 degrees Celsius. Even now there are places in the world where the thermometer shows similar values in exceptional situations. Without a protective suit, a life under such constant conditions is not possible for us humans.
If the global climate were so cold after a sun failure, the oceans would freeze. But at least - it almost sounds like apocalyptic irony - the resulting ice layer on the sea surface would have an insulating function.
The heat stored in the water could therefore stay there - probably for thousands of years. The result would be that the oceans would not freeze completely, but would only be covered by a thick layer.
What is happening to the people?
After about ten years it would be even more uncomfortable on the then not so blue planet: The temperature on the surface would drop to minus 220 degrees Celsius and we would not even be able to survive with a protective suit.
Because at these degrees the oxygen begins to condense. Figuratively speaking, the air would fall from the sky like snow. What way out could mankind still be left in such a case?
The very fact that the oceans do not freeze into a massive block of ice could save people's lives - or at least provide a theoretical way out.
Because we could escape the hostile cold in large submarines and dive into the depths of the seas. Which is certainly not the most beautiful place to live.
A presumably better - if just as utopian - alternative could be a place on the surface: Iceland. The locals there heat 87 percent of their homes with geothermal energy. Eric Blackman, an astrophysicist at the University of Rochester in New York, is certain that people could use the heat of volcanoes for years to come.
Thrown out of orbit
Whether one would really survive an apocalyptic and never ending winter there is pure speculation and in the end just a pointless lifeline in this thought model.
Because one thing is certain: If the sun were to go out overnight, we would also be missing the mass of our fixed star.
The result: Earth and all other planets would be thrown out of their orbit and would embark on a journey through space.
Exactly what the consequences would look like is pure speculation. Presumably, however, this journey would not end well for humanity.
Too many worries about the apocalypse do not seem appropriate at the moment, because under normal circumstances the sun will remain with us for some time.
Physicists have calculated that the star will shine for another ten billion years and only then will end in a supernova.
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